Though the NHL expansion draft does not officially take place until Wednesday evening, the Vegas Golden Knights had to submit the list of players they would be selecting by Wednesday morning.
Rumors about which Blues player could be heading to join the expansion franchise have been flying around for days, but Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest and Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have now confirmed that the Golden Knights will officially select David Perron from the St. Louis Blues in the expansion draft.
The Blues left Perron and his $3.75 million cap hit for 2017-2018 unprotected for the draft, despite his production last season. Perron scored 18 goals (fourth on the team) in 2016-2017 for St. Louis after returning via free agency last summer. The 29-year-old began his NHL career in St. Louis in 2007 and remained with the Blues until 2013. After a couple seasons in Edmonton, Perron was the biggest acquisition last summer–the same offseason that saw David Backes and Troy Brouwer walk out the door.
Instead of Perron, the Blues protected fourth-line enforcer Ryan Reaves from the expansion draft, which some viewed as a questionable decision for a team lacking in scoring production. Perron’s departure will provide the Blues with some additional cap space, giving Doug Armstrong a variety of options as he approaches free agency.
It certainly seems like moves will be necessary. Though a healthy Robby Fabbri and continued development from other keys forwards like Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz could improve the Blues offensively, those factors alone won’t be enough to elevate the Blues beyond last year’s production–especially with Perron heading to sin city.