David Perron: Was He Worth the First-Round Pick the Pens Traded to Get Him?


Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford made a splash earlier this season when he landed sharp-shooting winger David Perron from the Edmonton Oilers, sending Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick to the Oil in the deal.

While Perron looked like an absolute steal early on, scoring 5 goals over his first six games with Pittsburgh, the winger’s play dropped off significantly as the season wore on, and Perron’s subpar postseason performance saw him drop from the first line to the third by the end of Pittsburgh’s only playoff series.

When it was all said and done, Perron finished with 12 goals and 22 points in 43 regular season games for Pittsburgh, failing to score in any of the team’s final 12 contests.

In five playoff games, Perron registered only one assist and 12 shots while finishing as a -1.

Perron still boasts a wealth of natural skill and, at only 26 years old, a significant opportunity to form some strong chemistry with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

Yet his lacklustre play down the stretch begs the question of whether the Pens were justified in giving up a first-round draft pick to acquire him.

It’s no mystery that the Penguins are in need of some youth,

While they’re certainly not old and busted, they’re also not the same fresh-faced phenoms that took the NHL by storm back in 2009.

The club needs to infuse some more quality youth into the lineup, just as they did with defenseman Derrick Pouliot.

A first-round draft pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft would have been extremely valuable in this case, as the 2015 draft class is said to be one of the deepest groups in recent memory.

While North American young guns Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel lead the pack, the scouting world has been abuzz lately with the depth of talent that will fill out the rest of the first round.

The Pens will have no part of said talent, however, as their first round draft pick went to Edmonton – the club that will almost certainly select McDavid first-overall – as part of the Perron exchange.

Perron may still yet return to form and prove to be a valuable addition to the Penguins, but if he remains playing at the level he showed during Pittsburgh’s postseason run, it will certainly be difficult to justify missing out on the type of quality young player the Pens could have nabbed late in the first round.

There are certainly gems to be had late in said round, as can be seen by the last several drafts.

Talented Pens forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen was taken 22nd overall in 2014. Three picks later came Bruins forward David Pastrnak. In 2012, Pittsburgh snagged their own first-round gem in Olli Maatta at 22nd overall.

The 2010 draft serves as the most evident example of this, however, as the lower half of the first round features 6 players currently playing in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs – Vladamir Tarasenko (16th), Riley Sheahan (21st), Kevin Hayes (24th), Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th), Emerson Etem (29th), and Brock Nelson (30th).

A wealth of talent will almost certainly exist in the 2015 NHL draft class as well, but the Pens will be barred from taking their pick, instead remaining hopeful that Perron will improve his consistency next season.

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