The Edmonton Oilers have been taking small steps in their effort to become a playoff team.
They took another one on Wednesday, as Craig Custance of ESPN The Magazine is reporting that they acquired winger David Perron from the St. Louis Blues for Magnus Paajarvi and a 2014 second-round draft pick.
Perron is not a superstar, but he has proven to be an effective scorer throughout his first six years in the NHL. The 26th pick in the 2007 draft has scored 84 goals and 114 assists in 340 games. Perron's average of 0.58 points per game should give him the opportunity to play as a top-six forward for the Oilers.
The skilled forward is capable of the spectacular. On occasion, he is able to take the puck from end to end and create plays by going through the defense, as he did on this 2009 goal against the New York Islanders.
Paajarvi was more highly regarded in 2009, as he was the 10th pick in the draft for the Edmonton Oilers. After scoring 15 goals in his 2010-11 rookie season, Paajarvi has scored 11 goals since.
He is averaging 0.36 points per game at this point in his career.
Though Perron is further along in his development than Paajarvi, the Oilers are taking a chance in trading their former first-round selection because he is a 6'3", 208-pounder who could become a goalmouth force if he can ever harness his talent.
The Blues also have a pair of restricted free agents in Alex Pietrangelo and Chris Stewart who still have to be signed, so moving Perron clears salary.
Perron is not small at 5'11" and 196 pounds, but he is not going to make a living anchoring himself in the crease. He is a talented offensive force who has the ability to put the puck in the net.
The Blues signed Perron to a four-year, $15.25 million contract last summer and general manager Doug Armstrong said the team was counting on Perron to develop into a consistent goal scorer.
"He has that talent to score goals, which is a rare talent in today's game," Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when Perron signed his extension.
Perron was held to 10 goals and 15 assists in 2013 and never looked as comfortable as he had been the year before.
The Blues were not thrilled with his playoff production either, as Perron was held to two assists in the Blues' first-round series against the Kings. He only had one playoff goal in nine games in 2012.
Nevertheless, Perron is significantly further ahead in his progression than Paajarvi and has earned a reputation as a player who will fight hard every game. By coming to a young team loaded with offensive talent like the Oilers, that hard work could pay off with big-time scoring totals.
Like the deal for Oilers. Perron is a gamer, plays hard and has some bite, can score goals. Paajarvi was still a big question mark— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) July 10, 2013
There's every chance that Perron, one of the best puck-handlers in the game, will end up on the Oilers' second line. He could be teamed with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins/Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov if the trade works out for general manager Craig MacTavish.
Paajarvi certainly has great natural talent, but he did not bring it on a nightly basis. That's not a problem with Perron, who will go hard into the corners, fight for the puck and make a play even if he has to take abuse.
At times, he'll take some ill-advised penalties, but he is aggressive.
The Oilers made a move to get to the playoffs last year, but they faltered down the stretch. They have added defenseman Andrew Ference, center Boyd Gordon and goalie Jason LaBarbera in free agency.
Now they have brought in a talented and hard-working player like Perron.
It could be the move that propels the Oilers into the playoffs for the first time since they made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.