The Edmonton Oilers, showing urgency to compete for a playoff spot, traded for a more experienced scoring forward, sacrificing a prospect, who hasn't yet shown how good he can be.
The Oilers Get: LW David Perron.
Perron, 25, is a very talented forward, a dazzling puckhandler with a good physical game; a two-time 20-goal scorer who has missed significant time (96 games in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012) due to a concussion, but he played all 48 games for the Blues last season.
While he was healthy in 2013, Perron's production wasn't ideal, as his points per game (0.52) and shots on goal per game (1.75) were his lowest since his rookie season, 2007-2008. Perron played a strong two-way game, spending most of his time on the Blues' number one line with David Backes and T.J. Oshie, which meant facing tough assignments on a nightly basis, something that may not be an issue for Perron in Edmonton, where his role will likely have a different focus.
Joining the Oilers, Perron looks like he would be a nice fit on the second line with Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov (Paajarvi's most common linemates), a spot that could give him a chance to exceed 50 points for the first time in his career.
Perron has three years and $11.25-million remaining on his contract, which comes at a cap hit of $3,812,500 (www.capgeek.com). In his prime years, that's not an expensive cost for a top-six forward that is going to be counted on to score 20-plus goals in each of those three seasons.
The Blues Get: LW Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick.
Paajarvi has grown into a healthy 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, but the 22-year-old isn't a proven commodity to the extent that Perron would be considered proven. Paajarvi scored 15 goals and 34 points in 2010-2011, as a rookie, but has 24 points in 83 games since (with 45 points in 72 AHL games over the last two years) and played a modest 14:08 per game in the NHL last season.
However, while Paajarvi isn't proven, he definitely has potential worth exploring and, with his size and speed, could be a top-six forward.
Consider that, last season, Paajarvi had 1.79 shots per game and 16 points in 593 minutes of ice time, which works out to 1.62 points per 60 minutes. Perron, the established scorer, with 25 points in 864 minutes, had 1.74 points per 60 minutes; not much of a difference. It's fair, then, to consider that Paajarvi could continue to develop into a role where he at least provides adequate secondary scoring.
Further incentive to this deal comes from the fact that Paajarvi is a restricted free agent and isn't likely to come near Perron's salary with his next contract. If the Blues save in the neighbourhood of $2-million or more on Perron's cap hit, then that's money that they will have to sign their other high-profile restricted free agents, including top scorer Chris Stewart and number one defenceman Alex Pietrangelo.
The second-round pick doesn't provide huge value, but is a sweetener on the deal. From 1994-2008, there were 450 second-round picks, with a little more than 30% either having played at least 100 NHL games or very likely to cross that threshold.
Immediately, the Oilers are better because of this deal, but both teams are still banking on potential. Perron is talented, but injuries stalled his career ascent, so he could still become more than what he's shown to this point in his career and the Blues are not only hoping for Paajarvi to turn into a productive player but, ideally, one that doesn't cost quite as much.
This is the kind of deal that gets made in a salary cap league, where teams have to prioritize their assets and if finding a reasonable lineup alternative to Perron comes cheaper for the Blues, allowing them to spend elsewhere, then both teams could get what they want out of it.