When the Pittsburgh Penguins elected to make changes to their front office last off-season, it would have been reasonable to question the hiring of former Carolina GM Jim Rutherford. Many expected a younger voice to take over. While it’s always impossible to know which front office personnel to give credit to or criticize for individual moves, it is apparent that something is going right upstairs at Consol Energy Center.
After an off-season in which the Penguins traded for all-around forward Patric Honqvist, smartly grabbed puck-moving defenseman Christian Ehrhoff at a more-than reasonable one-year, $4 million deal and made under-the-radar, low-risk moves like signing Blake Comeau and Steve Downie for a song, the Pens did not wait until the deadline to acquire the extra offensive threat they need.
On Friday, Pittsburgh traded a first-round pick and Rob Klinkhammer for David Perron.
Without any advanced analysis, the Pens win the old “best player in the deal.” As you break down the statistics, economics and likelihood of success, it seems like a coup for Pittsburgh.
Now the stats:
– Perron averages 49 points per 82 games for his career. Only about 100 players per year score 50 or more
– He is consistently between 1.8 and 2.3 points per 60 minutes at even strength. Last season, only 55 players cleared 2.0/60
– Not counting the year he played only 10 games, Perron has had a negative Relative Corsi just one time during his career. He has had widely varying Offensive Zone Start percentages, so he has not always been as “protected” as this season
– He had the highest raw Corsi % of any Oilers forward last year
– Perron has a shooting percentage of 6.8%. His previous three seasons were: 12.7%, 11.9% and 18.4% – meaning he has had poor puck luck this year
So, it should be pretty clear that Perron is statistically a pretty solid top nine forward.
Here’s why the move is smart economically: The hit rate/value on players drafted in the late part of the first round makes it not only justifiable for the Penguins to move a first round pick, but exemplary. You wonder: Why don’t all clear-cut Cup contenders trade their first round picks for real players off of rebuilding teams?
Think about the timeline for a late first-round pick: Picked in 2016, two years in junior to 2018, AHL experienced required to 2019 at best. Unless the Oilers are going to trade that pick as part of another package, it isn’t going to help them rebuild quickly as much as a 50-point scorer.
Perron’s contract is also very manageable – another key part to the deal. Trading firsts for good current players who have bad contracts…that isn’t too smart. But the former Blue has a cap hit around $3.8 million through 2016.
And the circumstance is perfect for him. There were reports he was not great in the locker room. Who would be great in the Edmonton locker room?
There is value to having a player be liked by teammates. My guess is any NHL player would be in a better mood if he sees time alongside Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby, which Perron invariably will.
That likelihood should jack up his expected points from 0.6 per game to….well, more than that.
A fire hydrant would put up 0.3 with Sid the Kid.
Again, we don’t know from the outside which people are pulling the strings, but all signs point to the Perron move as a very bright one – maybe one that would not have happened in the past? That’s also hard to say.
Nevertheless, the Pens helped their cause on Friday.