St. Louis Blues fans were just celebrating David Perron getting his 56th, 57thand 58thpoints of the season Thursday. With his 56thpoint, he became the first Blues player since Pavol Demitra in the 2002-03 season to average a point per game. Blues fans were looking forward to watching Perron do his thing again in the playoffs. However Saturday, he was put on the COVID-protocol list and his status for Game 1 and the entire first round is unknown. If Perron remains on the COVID list, will the Blues be able to win without him?
David Perron’s Impact
Perron had 19 goals and 39 assists for 58 points in 56 regular-season games. He led the team in assists and points. He was second on the team in goals, five behind captain Ryan O’Reilly. The Blues have battled injuries and COVID-related absences this season and still managed to make the playoffs, but they may not be able to get by if they are without one of the best players on the team.
Perron was a huge part of the 2019 Stanley Cup-winning team. He had seven goals and nine assists for 16 points in 26 games. Two of his seven goals were game-winning goals. Even though the Blues playoff run last season ended earlier than they wanted, Perron still had four goals and five assists for nine points in nine games. The Blues might’ve taken it for granted at the time, but his production will certainly be missed if he is unable to play.
In 92 career playoff games with the Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights, Perron has 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points. Three of his 15 goals were game winners.
The Blues Without David Perron
The Blues still have O’Reilly, who put up 54 of his own points in 56 games this season. He also led the team in goals with 24. The problem is that David Perron was one of O’Reilly’s linemates for the majority of the season. Their on-ice chemistry is undeniable. It’s also undeniable that O’Reilly is able to produce without Perron, he’s done it before. But it seems unlikely that he will be able to produce at the same rate he was in the regular season with Perron by his side.
There is almost a 20-point difference between O’Reilly and the Blues player with the third-highest point total. Mike Hoffman had 36 points in 52 regular-season games. Seventeen of those 36 points came on the power play. While Hoffman probably won’t put up as many points as O’Reilly, if the Blues can draw penalties, Hoffman and Co. should be able to capitalize on power-play opportunities and give the Blues a better chance to win games.
Even with O’Reilly and Hoffman, the Blues will need production from elsewhere in the playoffs.
That means the Blues need veterans like Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko (if he is able to play) to continue to produce and step up if they can. O’Reilly said Sunday that he’ll likely be playing with Schwartz and Schenn so they will have plenty of opportunities to make a difference.
The playoffs are also the perfect opportunity for an unsung hero to shine. Maybe it’ll be Oskar Sundqvist or Klim Kostin, who is fresh off a KHL championship. But, if Perron is out, everyone is going to have to work together to try and make up what he brings to the table in each game.