David Perron; Low Risk, High Reward Trade Candidate >

by Michael DeNicola

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 --

Our depth at left-wing is somewhat of a question-mark. We platoon centermen in and out of the position habitually, and Scott Hartnell remains one of the streakiest Top 6 forwards on the roster. The Flyers need an uncontested #1 LW to skate beside Claude Giroux, but frankly... our current budget barely allows us to strengthen our checking-lines.

We, as fans, must accept that the Flyers are probably not going to get that perennial sniper to compliment Giroux's playmaking ability. And the Flyers are probably not going to get a legitimate #1 Defenseman. Not this offseason, and likely not any time soon. NHL front offices do not operate in a bubble; everyone is after the same thing, and it is second nature to overspend to get it. 'Overspending' is no longer a privilege of ours. 

This is when general managers and their scouting department bring their lunch pails.

Value; it's the mean between the goods or services you receive for the money you're spending to get it. Some may describe it using the phrase "bang for buck". In our case, we're looking for a bargain; a player with a modest, fixed cost, whose production is equal to higher value. 

The Edmonton Oilers remain one of the NHL's insolvent organizations from a team-building perspective. Their office's leadership is sporadic, and that is putting it lightly. For years they've been a sinking ship, and their crew seems to be grabbing for more and more boat ores rather than the lifeboats themselves. 

Needless to say, the Oilers have a few roster players up for sale. Two of the biggest names thrown around the rumormill are Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov; two forwards who would cost one of any of the other 29 organizations considerable assets in a trade transaction. But you can be certain one organization WILL spend to get those players. 

Enter 26-year old LW David Perron; a Top 6 forward with a tolerable $3.8mm average annual value, good through the 2015-16 season. 

David was originally chosen by the St. Louis Blues, 26th Overall, in the 2007 Entry Draft. Throughout his tenure as a Blue Note, Perron had unfortunately suffered a handful of concussions which ultimately left him expendable. In July of 2013, St. Louis sent Perron packing to Oil Country for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2nd round selection in 2014. 

Before being traded, David played all 48-games in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 League Year, completing his first full season since 2009-10. Through those 48-games with the Blues, he posted 10-goals and 25-points while barely recording 2nd line minutes. Career-wise, Perron averages 0.61 points per game which, when healthy, makes him a 50-point player on a seasonal basis. 

Again, $3.8mm and 50-points is good value. In today's NHL market, that's a bargain. The Flyers see that with Wayne Simmonds who is a $3.975mm cap hit and is now seemingly good for 50 - 60+ points a year. 

This past season with the Oilers, David Perron registered 28-goals and 57-points through 78-games. Had he not missed those four contests due to a neck strain, his pace was good for exactly 60-points -- the same Wayne Simmonds totaled in 2013-14. 

But unlike Simmonds, the majority of Perron's lamps & helpers came at even-strength. 

What I believe is more impressive is that Perron accomplished these points on a team with incredibly lousy possession metrics. The Oilers host more players with negative on-ice ratings than any Club in 2013-14. Now, I hate the plus/minus stat, so I won't spend much time analyzing it. But it forces you to dig for reasons why. Again, possession was lousy; chances against their net were abundant, Edmonton was 26th in shots-allowed per game (32.2), and yielded more goals per game (3.26) than any other team this past season. 

On a team like Edmonton, with such abysmal possession overall, you're going to see some players log sheltered minutes -- in other words, you're going to see players with an incredibly high percentage in offensive zone (OZ) starts than any of the three zones. 

Not Perron. 

David split his zone starts pretty equally throughout the defensive, neutral and offensive zones. And even still he was capable of stitching together a 60-point pace. 

Let's dive deeper into his skill set. 

Per Hockey's Future, Perron's talent analysis reads like so: his game is based around his great individual skill, which makes him one of the most dangerous offensive players on the ice. He is especially adept at stickhandling his way past defenders and utilizing his accurate shooting to make opposing goaltenders nervous whenever he is near. His vision within the offensive zone also allows him to set up teammates for scoring opportunities.

David is especially dangerous in the 'home plate' area of the offensive zone...

If you cannot tell already, this home plate area is primarily the Flyers' stomping ground. Dirty goals are abundant, and our bigger bodies have a knack for positioning themselves deep in the crease, screening the opposing tender and allowing players like David Perron to handle the puck through high percentage space. In turn, Perron's stickhandling creates opportunity for the bigger bodies to get deep against lesser contention. Both of these developments allow our blueliners to skate to the points and ready themselves for either the transition, or the puck getting kicked back out for a second chance. 

In theory, it's all complimentary. We know it does not always evolve that way, but that's just hockey. 

Perron's game has been polished out West; a conference which prides itself on its defense-heavy stranglehold. David is an offenseman who has built a pretty successful points-getting career against defensive juggernauts. And he only padded that fact this past season by recording tallies on a defensively inept roster. Imagine how well he'd do on a second-line, feeding chances to Wayne Simmonds or collecting garbage goals off of one of Brayden Schenn's physical plays? Perron could bring even-strength balance to a line combination encompassing two forwards who've been getting increasingly better each season.

....or would we rather continue juggling Brayden and Lecavalier back & forth between center and left-wing?

Have I mentioned Perron is right-handed? We've seen Matt Read's right-handed stick on Couturier's left side, and the two of them have grossed tremendous chemistry. Perhaps David's dominant hand packs an extra dangerous variable to an otherwise dangerous line with Schenn and Simmonds?

Let's talk turkey -- what is he going to cost the Philadelphia Flyers?

As I have mentioned before, I am awful at guessing price tags. Not because the logic is lost on me, but because the trade market is so fluid that its daily changes seem to be organized anarchy.

Perhaps Perron would only cost us draft picks? Perhaps he'd cost us a bottom six roster player and a reasonably high (3rd round) draft pick? I dunno. I leave that up to our Commander, Ron Hextall, to decide on and execute. 

But remember; my aim is to acquire a 50+ point forward who is relatively young, has NHL experience, and brings bigger bang for the buck. David Perron harnesses all of these traits. 

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