David Perron still productive for the Detroit Red Wings despite lesser role

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Leadership, creativity, strength, and grit are a few words that describe Detroit Red Wings veteran forward David Perron. Speed and skating did not come to my mind first, well, maybe lack thereof. As I joke, I can only assume there are a handful of fans shaking their fist at their screen, conveying ‘he’s a Stanley Cup champion.’ You’d be correct; he’s also scored 295 goals in the league.

Perron, 35, remains an essential piece to these Detroit Red Wings, who are finally beginning to soar. The ‘Yzerplan,’ a coined term often used to describe general manager Steve Yzerman’s vision of the Detroit Red Wings, is far from over, but it is beginning to show signs of what is to come in the future. Perron is coming off a terrific first year with the Red Wings, totaling 24 goals and 56 points. The 24 goals go in the books as the fourth-best of his career. Perron’s high-water of 28 came back in 2013-14 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

The veteran winger played nearly exclusively on Detroit’s second line last season but in the one-timer position on the first power-play unit. In his final season with the Blues, Perron buried a career-high 11 power-play goals. Last season with the Red Wings, he notched six.

Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron is still productive despite a smaller role and less ice time.

Perron has totaled two goals and two assists through Detroit’s first eight games of the season. That point production came in a cluster of three games (Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Calgary). With Yzerman adding a plethora of talent this off-season, a player like Perron finds himself a line down from a year ago now playing on Detroit’s third line, averaging about a minute and a half less per game opposite newcomer Daniel Sprong with a speedy Joe Veleno as his center.

Head coach Derek Lalonde skated Perron on Detroit’s top line alongside Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Larkin to begin the year but mixed things up following the opening night loss to the New Jersey Devils. Although the Red Wings played the Devils close, things began to click when Lalonde put Lucas Raymond onto the top line with DeBrincat and Larkin. That allowed for a second line of Andrew Copp, Michael Rasmussen, and J.T. Compher. That newly formed second line has not only become a formidable second unit, Lalonde usually uses the trio as his shutdown line, but they can also create offense. That frees up the third line, which contains a pair of 20-plus goal scorers from a year ago, the ability to draw a lesser assignment, hopefully tipping the ice in Detroit’s favor.

During training camp this summer, Perron joked about showing up to camp a bit lighter so he could gain a bit more speed so that he’s just one zone behind Dylan Larkin on the rush rather than two.

"“It’s just to be able to follow (Dylan Larkin) around,” Perron quips. “One zone behind, instead of two.”“I do feel more confident in my skating ability,” Perron said. “It’s not just speed. I think I’m strong on my skates. Strong on my edges in the corner, reverse shoulder against bigger defensemen.”  “Muscle-wise, I’m the same, if not stronger,” Perron said. “I feel really good.”“I want to keep up with those guys,” Perron said. “Everyone is skating so well nowadays, tracking back into our zone. If I’m going to play for a couple, or few more years, that needs to be there.”"

Skating will never be Perron’s forte, but he’s excellent at protecting the puck when it is on his stick. He’s strong on his skates and works the wall exceptionally well. Perron still finds himself on Detroit’s top power-play unit. Still, with the addition of DeBrincat and the departure of Tyler Bertuzzi, he’s become the net-front presence, with DeBrincat taking over the one-timer position.

Lucas Raymond will find his scoring touch. dark. Next

Octopus Thrower
Octopus Thrower /

Want your voice heard? Join the Octopus Thrower team!

Write for us!

Although he’s positioned differently, Perron is still productive on the power play. Both of his goals this season have come with the man advantage, and both goals ended up as game-winners. If the Detroit Red Wings hope to qualify for the playoffs, they need consistent depth scoring. If Sprong, Veleno, and Perron combine for 55-60 goals, it will not only complement the top two lines but also help position the Red Wings for a playoff spot or at least put them on the cusp of a spot this spring.