Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Blues plans don't include Perron, who signs free agent contract with Red Wings

Cap crunch leaves forward on outside looking in 
again, gets two-year, $9.5 million contract with Detroit

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- With additions come subtractions, and the loss of veteran forward David Perron, who signed a two-year, $9.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, has not gone over well with the Blues fan base.

The Blues elected to give Robert Thomas a massive extension, sign Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss and Noel Acciari to free-agent contracts but elected not to sign the 34-year-old Perron, who was one off a career-high in goals in a season after scoring 27 last season and finishing with 57 points in 60 games.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
David Perron (57) leaves the Blues organization for a third time, this time
after signing a two-year, $9.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

Knowing that Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou are due for large salary increases moving forward (Thomas signed an eight-year, $65 million extension Wednesday), the hope to re-sign Ryan O'Reilly, who enters the final year of his contract, the likely option of keeping Vladimir Tarasenko and the final year of his $7.5 million average annual value contract, wanting to upgrade the left side of their defense and having to sign their own restricted free agents, Perron was on the outside looking in.


"Yeah, this is projecting out a flat cap or a cap that could go up by a million dollars this year, next year and the year after knowing that the bridge deals of Thomas and Kyrou are at two-eight," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "We don't expect them to play anywhere near that amount of money after next year. There's other players that are going to be unrestricted free agents that we like. We really love David too, but a year ago on a situation like that, when you trade for (Pavel) Buchnevich and you acquire (Brandon) Saad, the hard part is you can't participate every trade deadline and every summer with a flat cap. That's sort of how that situation unfolded.

"... It's a money situation that we'd have to work on. As I've said, everyone knows how I feel about David. I don't need to rehash that. Great player, great Blue, been back, gone, been back, gone, been back, gone, been back but regardless of what happens, he's always going to be known as a great Blue and someone that this organization is going to hold fondly well past his retirement days, which I think are a long way away. Again, it's just what we have to do with some of our internal players that make it harder to go out a greater distance."

A flat cap that will only go up by a million to $82.5 million for the upcoming season and the Blues short $1 million of it due to bonus overages paid out to Tyler Bozak, there was no money left to sign the durable Perron, who has turned himself into a complete two-way player. He led the second-ranked Blues' power-play with 11 goals and 26 power-play points.

"We were trying to make it work for a while with the Blues, but it didn't work out," Perron said via Zoom Wednesday. "I'm excited to be with the Red Wings."

Perron, drafted by the Blues with the 26th pick in the 2007 NHL Draft who finished out a four-year, $16 million contract this past season, will be leaving the Blues for the third time. He was traded to Edmonton in 2013, signed with the Blues as a free agent in 2016 and was left unprotected for Vegas in the 2017 Expansion Draft, then signed with the Blues again in 2018 before leaving again on Wednesday.

He will join a up with a Blues reunion group that includes Oskar Sundqvist, Robby Fabbri, Ville Husso, who was traded to the Red Wings last Friday for a third-round pick and signing a three-year, $14.25 million contract and Jake Walman.

"First of all, the moment you get a call from Steve Yzerman, it catches your attention right away," Perron said of the Red Wings GM. "Obviously I had several options that was bouncing around in my head, with my agent (Allan Walsh), with my family, with everyone, but I think the Red Wings are a team with obviously some of the signings that happened today too, I think they're ready to take the next step in the evolution as a team and I wanted to be a part of that.

"I've played with Husso, Sundqvist, Fabbri, Walman. Those are guys I exchanged text messages with already and obviously looking forward. Any time you've got familiar faces to join a group, some of us won together there in St. Louis and would like to bring some of that success to Detroit."

Perron wanted to remain with the Blues and retire here. That's no mistake. He's played in 973 regular-season games (673 with the Blues) and has always called this his second home. He would never admit it publicly, but it was evident Perron wasn't happy to play through the past season with no contract extension in hand and no further commitment from the Blues moving forward. 

When asked if he felt the Blues' cap crunch was the reason for his departure, it was evident of his displeasure.

"That's not for me, that question," Perron said. "You can ask the other guy."

That other guy would be Armstrong, who separated Batman (O'Reilly) and Robin (Perron).

But Perron leaves a Stanley Cup champion, won with the Blues in 2019.

"Definitely a tough loss," Thomas said of Perron. "He's a guy that loved being in St. Louis, loved being a Blue. He's a great leader on and off the ice. He competed hard every night and was a huge factor in past seasons and playoffs. ... I wish him nothing but the best if he doesn't come back but definitely a tough loss for us."

Along with losing Perron, depth forward Dakota Joshua signed a free agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks, netting himself a two-year deal, and Charlie Lindgren, who was in the running to get the backup role behind Jordan Binnington, also chose free agency and inked a three-year, $3.3 million contract with the Washington Capitals.

Armstrong indicated each was offered one-way contracts but elected to go to market.

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