Maple Leafs should take a run at signing David Perron

Photo credit:Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
12 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs are going to prioritize upgrading their blue line and goaltending depth once free agency opens on July 1. After completing their top priorities, general manager Brad Treliving should focus on signing David Perron.
Perron, 36, will likely be looking for a one or two-year contract on the open market.  The veteran winger is coming off a 47-point season last year with the Detroit Red Wings and his most recent contract was a two-year deal at $9.5 million total in Detroit.
For the Maple Leafs, Perron could give the team some flexibility up front. The future of Tyler Bertuzzi is in flux so having Perron as a backup plan should be something Treliving considers. Perron could immediately slide onto the team’s second line and could give Craig Berube a chance to move William Nylander to centre, and have Perron slot in at right wing. Berube and Perron have a strong history together from their days in St. Louis.

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Perron joined Leafs Morning Take on May 29 and made it clear that he loved playing for Berube. It bodes well for the Maple Leafs’ pursuit in the coming days.

Perron’s style of play is much needed in Toronto

Perron would check a lot of boxes for the Maple Leafs next season. With a proven history of putting up points with the man advantage, Toronto could balance out its power-play units much better next season. Perron recorded 17 power-play points last season and the previous two years posted 22 and 26 points, respectively.
While his offensive game is impactful, Perron’s biggest impact on a nightly basis is his work ethic. He never takes a shift off, he loves to be tough on the forecheck and lays the body any chance he can. Last season, the veteran winger recorded 111 hits, which was the second consecutive season that he surpassed 100 hits. This is a part of his game he’s made a conscious effort to elevate as he knows that he’s in the latter stages of his career and will have to impact the game in a variety of ways.
This also helps when balancing out Toronto’s lineup. If Nylander stays on the wing, Perron has experience playing on the left side or can slide down onto the third line and give Berube some options when trying to assemble a shutdown line. Sure, it may be crowded with Calle Jarnkrok still in town, but Perron’s versatility to play both wings is something that should appeal to Treliving and company.
Another aspect of Perron’s experience is how productive he’s been during the playoffs. In Toronto, there’s been a ton of noise about how the Leafs’ stars can’t produce in the postseason — more specifically in the later stages of each series. Perron has 61 points in just over 100 postseason games. His last two playoff runs, he was over a point-a-game player. It’s this type of production when the games matter the most the Maple Leafs need more of.

Money will play a factor for Maple Leafs

After re-signing Domi, Treliving has roughly $15 million to work with in cap space entering free agency. With the incoming contract for Chris Tanev to account for, as well as potentially two other defencemen, there’s no doubt the Maple Leafs may be counting their pennies after the first day of free agency. Perron may have to take a little less if he wants to reunite with his old coach. For a chance to win, that’s normally a gamble veteran free agents consider.
The Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks could also have interest in Perron, so there’s going to be some competition for his services from teams who may be offering more than what the Maple Leafs can muster up. It’s going to come down to fit and Perron’s desires. Toronto’s case could be strong backed on playing for Berube, a chance at top-six minutes and seeing time on the first power-play unit.
There’s also the future of Bertuzzi to consider here. While the Leafs have been linked to several pending free-agent defensemen, they haven’t necessarily been linked to many forwards by the game’s foremost insiders. It seems like they will add on their blue line, acquire another goaltender one way or another, circle back on Bertuzzi and then make a run at some other free-agents who fit the landscape of next season’s team.
Perron should be a target for Treliving come Monday as he’d be a great addition to the Maple Leafs. He’s a proven winner, he can be leaned on for secondary offense, he’s familiar with the coaching staff, he has a history of producing in the playoffs, and considering what his contract demands will be, it could be a case of the dollars making sense in Toronto.

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