The cap-strapped St. Louis Blues have dealt David Perron to the Edmonton Oilers.
In exchange, the Blues receive forward Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick in the 2014 draft.
The Blues have been dangling Perron, a skilled but underachieving winger who scored 10 goals and 25 points last season, since the trade deadline. But while Perron’s speed makes him a natural fit for Edmonton’s high-flying top six, he doesn’t fit the team’s clear need for a power forward, grit and experience on the bottom six or a reliable, two-way defenseman.
Still, Perron is an upgrade over Paajarvi, a 6-foot-3, 208-pound left winger who plays like he’s three inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter. Despite numerous opportunities, the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft struggled to find his place in the Edmonton lineup and the organization lost faith that he’d ever be more than a perimeter player.
Perron lacks the size of Paajarvi, but he has three seasons of 40-plus points thanks to his willingness to drive the net. He’s had concussion problems in the past, missing 13 months in 2010-11 while he recovered from the effects of a vicious hit by San Jose’s Joe Thornton, so he comes with a Buyer Beware label prominently displayed. That’s a risk the Oilers were willing to take.
While this was a hockey trade for Edmonton, it’s a money deal for the Blues. Perron has three years remaining on a deal that comes with a cap hit of $3,812,500. Paajarvi is a restricted free agent coming off a deal that paid him $1,525,000. Assuming Paajarvi, who had nine goals and 16 points last season, signs for a similar AAV, that $2 million cap savings will help the Blues sign a critical restricted free agent of their own, No. 1 defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
That money might not be enough to get the Pietrangelo deal done, however. The Blues now have around $12.9 million of cap space, but they also need to get leading scorer Chris Stewart and top goalie prospect Jake Allen signed. Speculation persists that the Blues are shopping several other players, including goaltender Jaroslav Halak, promising blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk and possibly even Stewart.
If they have to go that route, they can expect to take haircut on any return similar to what they got in this deal.
By Allan Muir