David Perron in mourning for the Blues

David Perron in mourning for the Blues


DETROIT | David Perron had the Blues logo and the city of St. Louis tattooed on his heart. Drafted by this team in the first round in 2007 and winner of the Stanley Cup in 2019, the Quebecer did not expect to leave Missouri.

“ I lived this departure quite difficult, said Perron in a corridor of the Little Caesars Arena, very close to the luxurious locker room of the Red Wings. It's still new to me. I see pictures of me with the Wings jersey and I still find it unusual.

“I will need time. I had invested myself body and soul with the Blues. I had built important relationships with this organization. I had taken my status to another level with the Blues, I was not just a passing player. I won a championship there. I had realized my dream. It wasn't an easy pill to swallow when I realized there was no place for me in St. Louis.”

For the first time in his career, Perron wrote his name on the bottom of a contract with a team other than the Blues. Although he has already worn the colors of the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights, the winger had always signed his agreements with a general manager of the Blues (Larry Pleau and Doug Armstrong). 

The end of a rebuild

In Detroit, number 57 agreed to a two-year pact and 9 .5 million  $ ($4.75 M$ on average per season).

“The Red Wings want to turn the boat around and I believe in the team's vision,” Perron said. There are other teams that are going more down, but that's no longer the case with the Wings. There are good young people and the team wants to win. And when [CEO] Steve Yzerman calls you, it's just looking. I also know that he believes in the value of a veteran. When the Red Wings had a big machine, they always relied on good veterans like Yzerman, [Kirk] Maltby, [Kris] Draper, [Nicklas] Lidstrom, [Johan] Franzen and others.

“&nbsp ;Outside of hockey, I found a home in Birmingham, a suburban town 30 minutes from Detroit. It's an exceptional place. » 

Asset for the power play

On the eve of his first game with the Red Wings, Perron found himself on the right wing with Andrew Copp and Jakub Vrana. He also practiced in the first unit in numerical superiority. 

“With our power play stats [16.3% and 26th in the NHL], we needed some help,” said head coach Derek Lalonde. David will help the team with this. But he has also already won with the Blues. He can also understand our young players. He needed to become a more complete attacker, more committed to a system of play. He also has an infectious energy in addition to being a very good person. ”

Now 34, Perron showed no signs of slowing down last season in St. Louis with 57 points (27 goals, 30 assists) in 67 games. In his last five campaigns, since he was 29 years old and over, he has maintained a very high production at 0.89 point per game (287 points in 321 games).

In the notebook…

Sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft, Filip Zadinawill watch the first game of the Red Wings campaign from the press box, even though he is completely healthy. The 22-year-old forward still hasn't taken off in Detroit. Last season, the Czech scored 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 71 games. At the 2018 auction, the Canadiens drafted Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall, while the Ottawa Senators homered Brady Tkachuk fourth. 

Former assistant to Jon Cooper in Tampa, Derek Lalondewon the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021 with the Lightning. The 50-year-old will lead his first NHL game as a head coach with the Red Wings. The American spoke in the morning about his love for… Expos. Originally from Brasher Falls, New York, Lalonde often made the trip (about 1 h 30) to Montreal. Tim Raines was his favorite player and he has fond memories of ice cream in the little baseball helmets at the Olympic Stadium. 

David Perron is not the unique Quebecer in the Red Wings locker room. He will speak in French with 22-year-old Montrealer Joe Veleno. Detroit's 2018 first-round pick will fill the fourth center position this season. The Red Wings have cooked up a third line of big guys. Michael Rasmussen (6 ft 6 in) will play center with Swedes Elmer Soderblom (6 ft 6 in) and Oskar Sundqvist (6 ft 3 in). Soderblom, a 21-year-old rookie, scored 21 goals in 52 games last season in Frölunda, Sweden.