Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the newly crowned champion Colorado Avalanche, the 2021-22 season has officially come to a close. For the St. Louis Blues, it was a season filled with success and memorable moments, though they ultimately fell short of their championship goal after being ousted by Colorado in the second round of the playoffs. Now, the Blues Free Agency period is quickly approaching and could look extremely busy.
As is the cyclical nature of sport, as one season ends, another immediately begins as the St. Louis Blues, along with the thirty-one other NHL clubs, begin making their offseason plans. The free agency period leading up to the 2022-23 season starts July 13 and the Blues have decisions to make on several players who are set to hit the open market.
Perhaps the most notable name on the list of pending Blues free agents is veteran winger David Perron. Remarkably on his third tour with the club, Perron has finished a four-year deal worth $4 million annually signed ahead of the 2018-19 season. In those four years, Perron has found a home on the team’s top line alongside captain Ryan O’Reilly and has aged like a fine wine, consistently putting up 55-60 point seasons while playing against the opposition’s top lines every night.
Re-sign or walk away?
While Perron’s offensive numbers have yet to slow down, the reality is that he is 34 years old, so anything long-term is out of the question. However, the Blues and Perron seem to be inseparable at this stage in his career and a short-term deal to keep Perron in St. Louis seems to make the most sense for both parties.
By all accounts, it appears Perron loves playing with the St. Louis Blues. As previously mentioned, he is in his third stint with the team after being originally drafted by the Blues in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He’s bounced around in his career via multiple trades and an expansion draft selection, including stints with the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, and Vegas Golden Knights. Though any time Perron has hit free agency and has had a say in where he applies his trade, he has chosen the Blues every single time. After helping to bring home the team’s first Stanley Cup title in 2018-19 and cementing his legacy as an all-time Blues player, it’s hard to imagine that Perron will all of a sudden have a change of heart and sign elsewhere.
As things stand, the Blues have roughly $9 million in cap space heading into next season, with a list of unrestricted Blues free agents that includes Perron, center Tyler Bozak, defenseman Nick Leddy, and goaltender Ville Husso. Factoring in restricted free agents in defensemen Niko Mikkola and Scott Perunovich, the Blues have many things to consider as they look to dethrone the Avalanche next season. Roster turnover is a necessary reality in professional sports and the team next year will not be the exact same team that took the ice this season.
With that being said, it is crucial to hold onto those core pieces while they are still of value and Perron fits that category to a tee. His one-timer has become one of the best in the league and his chemistry with O’Reilly has formed the nucleus of this team up front. On top of the offensive firepower, Perron provides a veteran presence for some of the up-and-coming young players. While he does not wear a letter on the front of his sweater, Perron is one of the leaders in the St. Louis Blues locker room and it could be considered disastrous if the team and player cannot come to terms on a new deal before free agency begins.
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