By Megan Brown
David Perron sparked his way onto the Anaheim Ducks roster just after the new year, helping a team struggling mightily to claw its way back into playoff contention after the Christmas break. He helped turn Anaheim’s season around and fit in with line mates Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Stewart so well it was hard to remember (or easy to forget) that he played the first 43 games of the season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The deal was struck late on January 15th, when speedy winger Carl Hagelin—a coveted summer signing—was traded for hard-nosed Perron. The move made sense: Hagelin’s fast style of play never meshed with the physical grind of Pacific Division hockey, any more than Perron’s rough-and-tumble mindset worked in Pittsburgh.
Fortunately for all parties involved, the changes of scenery worked.
Prior to the trade, Perron had just 4 goals and 12 assists in 43 games played with the Pens, sitting at a dismal -13. After his migration south, he managed 8 goals and 12 assists in just 28 games, turning his -13 into a +12 and becoming a staple of a Ducks team that very quickly heated up into one of the NHL’s best.
Perron’s numbers in Anaheim were comparable to some of his best seasons with the St. Louis Blues, even if he did see those numbers diminish after suffering a separated shoulder on March 20th vs. Winnipeg—an injury which clearly affected his playoff play.
“Quite honestly,” Perron told the media in his exit interview, “The whole playoffs, I was trying to protect my shoulder…I didn’t really hit anyone with my right shoulder until the last game, maybe. It’s probably a 6- to 8-weeks injury [recovery time], and I came back in three-and-a-half.”
He scored 1 goal and had 2 assists in the 7 games vs Nashville after his return.
Perron’s biggest weakness on an already hot-headed Ducks team was, arguably, the quick trigger finger on his temper. In his brief time with Anaheim he accrued 34 PIM, outstripping the 28 PIM he acquired in those 43 Pittsburgh games. While playing with emotion can be good—helpful, even—as fans saw on multiple occasions this season too much of the stuff can spill over into sloppy, frustrated play, turning a game from bad to worse in a matter of minutes (or seconds, depending on the night).
Despite this, and his shortened time with the Ducks, his tenacity, puck-handling abilities, and to-the-net mentality earn David Perron (in this writer’s humble opinion) the final season grade of B+. This is, of course, focusing solely on the numbers he put up in Anaheim; as they say, let sleeping Penguins lie, what’s done is done, the past is past, etc., etc. He becomes an UFA this summer, and while some may point to his stats as lacking consistency(he’s played on four teams between ’07 and ’16), others might argue that he was just waiting to find his perfect fit.
And so far, that seems to be with the Anaheim Ducks.
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