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Red Wings to lean on vocal David Perron for leadership, scoring

MLive - GrandRapids/Muskegon/Kalamazoo 9/26/2022 Ansar Khan,

David Perron is the oldest and most experienced player on the relatively young Detroit Red Wings, and apparently the most vocal, on the ice and in the room.

First-year coach Derek Lalonde and third-year captain Dylan Larkin will lean on Perron’s leadership ability.

“He self-admitted he’s had to evolve within his career on approach, work ethic, habits,” Lalonde said. “It’s an unbelievable example of where he is now that he expects practice to be at a high pace. He wants guys to work throughout the entire practice. He’s going to bring some energy to practice.”

The Red Wings hope that translates to games as they seek to take a significant step with several new additions, including Perron, a 34-year-old winger who has played 973 games over 15 seasons, mostly in St. Louis.

The Red Wings signed Perron to a two-year, $9.5 million free-agent deal because of his offensively ability. He tallied 27 goals – including a career-high 11 on the power play – and 30 assists in 67 games last season with the Blues. He will provide secondary scoring, possibly on a with Andrew Copp and Jakub Vrana.

“For me at the stage of my career I’m at I want to be a difference-maker on the ice,” Perron said. “Also, leadership-wise, being an extension of the coaching staff, preaching the right stuff in the room.”

Larkin called Perron “a gamer,” someone who is hard to play against.

“He’s very skilled. He wants the puck on his stick,” Larkin said. “I think he’s going to be great for our young players, someone that’s won in this league (Stanley Cup with St. Louis in 2019) and produced at a high level for a long time.”

Perron could be a key piece to a power play that has struggled for several seasons.

“That was definitely my bread and butter in St. Louis,” Perron said. “In the last four or five years I found a lot of success on the power play playing with different- style units, different type of personnel. Ended up on the half-wall a lot.

“One of the units I always looked up to is Tampa. They all have good one-timers. They all can move the puck pretty quickly, one touch and a pass. But it starts with the two half-wall guys and the top players and that’s where I want to help out.”

Playing with pace can be this team’s identity but tightening up defensively will be the key to winning more, Perron said.

“We got a lot of guys with a lot of skill, and I think if you take care of your own end it’s going to allow more opportunities offensively, less time spent in your zone,” Perron said. “At times it’s not comfortable for some of the young guys, but if you play the right way and play for the game to stay tight, they have enough skill that when they have one chance, they’ll put it in.”

Goaltender Ville Husso said Perron, his former Blues teammates, is loud in the room.

“It’s nice to hear him in the locker room. He’s trying to talk to everyone,” Husso said. “He’ll bring some energy in the room. He knows how to handle everybody.”

Perron said he will complement Larkin in that area.

“I’m sure in the past it fell on his shoulders a lot and it will again, but we’re going to be there to share that with him and talk about it in the room,” Perron said.

“I’m just excited to join a group where hearing Steve (general manager Yzerman) talk, we’re ready to start pushing in the right direction. The dogs days are hopefully over.”

More: Derek Lalonde’s training camp impressions

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