Once top center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins makes it all the way back from shoulder surgery, the Edmonton Oilers will be able to attack opponents with two outstanding scoring lines.
Nugent-Hopkins could center Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle on one line while Sam Gagner centers newcomer David Perron and second-year stalwart Nail Yakupov on the second line.
Perron scored just 25 points in 48 games last season for the Blues, but he is a clever give-and-go player with tenacity on the puck. Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish believes Perron can be far more productive playing with the Oilers.
“He's just got an incredible skill set . . . a great set of hands," MacTavish told NHL.com. “He's a pretty gritty player as well. He'll go to the areas necessary to score goals. On the outside, I feel like he's a really good fit for our team and the way that we play.
“There will be more attack opportunities for him, more rush opportunities. I think we potentially could be a better fit for his skill set than the team that he comes from.”
Getting him for third-line prospect Magnus Paajarvi could be quite a steal for Edmonton, assuming Perron avoids addition concussion troubles. His playmaking skills could make him a natural partner for the explosive Yakupov.
The Edmonton Oilers haven’t had a flashy off-season, but this team is clearly getting better.
Geneal manager Craig MacTavish upgraded on the wing by swapping still-developing winger Magnus Paajarvi to the Blues with a second-round pick for David Perron, a highly-skilled winger capable of playing on one a top line.
Perron is a clever give-and-go player who should fit nicely with his new teammate. His pesky playing style should serve Edmonton well, too. He gets after the puck and stays after the puck.
His addition added to the positive additions of defensive center Boyd Gordon, heady defenseman Andrew Ference and back-up goaltender Jason LaBarbara in free agency. The departure of goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin via free agency and Shawn Horcoff via trade freed up considerable payroll flexibility.
MacTavish still wants to add some heft to his front lines – after failing to land free agent David Clarkson with an “all in” offer -- and he is more than willing to move finesse forward Ales Hemsky, especially now that Perron is on board.
“I’m a little frustrated,” MacTavish told the Edmonton Sun. “I had certain objectives in mind and I’m going to be able to accomplish some of those things, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to accomplish all the things I wanted to do.”
Maybe, maybe not. Fans of the team didn't enjoy reading this paragraph from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette beat writer Shelly Anderson:
Penguins general manager Ray Shero today said he's not sure what type of symptoms team captain Sidney Crosby is still experiencing as he recovers from a concussion, but that they appear only when he pushes himself hard in offseason workouts.
Yeah, that doesn't sound good. The Blues already advised fans that David Perron, similarly disabled by a severe concussion, won't be ready for the start of the season. Penguins officials aren't ready to go that far.
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