This Saturday, David Perron and T.J. Oshie will be two of just over 40 players taking the ice at the Enterprise Center for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. For both players. It is their first ever selection to an NHL All-Star Game despite both men being north of age 30. David Perron is atop the leaderboard in goals and total points for the Western Conference leading St. Louis Blues while T.J. Oshie is having a solid year with the league leading Washington Capitals with 34 points (18 G, 16 A) in 49 games so far this season. Both players have taken different routes to now being both Stanley Cup Champions and an All-Star in 2020, but their beginnings in the NHL began just over a decade ago while they were both members on “The Kid Line” for the 2008-09 St. Louis Blues team.
Flashback to the 2005 NHL Draft. The Blues had the 24th overall pick in the draft, where they would select 18-year-old Timothy Leif Oshie, better known as T.J., who was headed to college to play for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, where he would play for the next three seasons. Fast forward one year to the Draft in 2006, where the Blues had two first round picks. They would select defenseman Erik Johnson first overall, and then grabbed Patrik Berglund at 25th overall, the eventual center of The Kid Line. Then finally in the 2007 NHL Draft, the Blues had an astounding three first round picks. After selecting Lars Eller at 13th and Ian Cole at 18th, the Blues selected David Perron from the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL with the 26th pick in the draft.
David Perron, despite being drafted last of the eventual members of The Kid Line, would make his NHL debut first. Perron suited up on October 12, 2007 for his first career game against the Colorado Avalanche, where he would record an assist in a 4-1 Blues victory. Perron would go on to play in 62 total games during the 2007-08 season and scored 13 goals and added 14 assists for a total of 27 points in his rookie campaign. While Perron was in with the Blues in the 2007-08 season, T.J. Oshie was still at North Dakota in his junior year while Patrik Berglund was still playing in native Sweden in the SHL.
Then heading into the 2008-09 season, the Blues were at a crossroads. The team had failed to make the playoffs three seasons in a row after the franchise had previously went to the playoffs 26 seasons in a row. But the Blues had brought T.J. Oshie up to the NHL along with Patrik Berglund to add some youth and speed to a core of NHL veterans that were starting to age. The Blues also added Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo in a trade that sent Lee Stempniak to Toronto. Finally. the team added veteran goaltender Chris Mason who would be the starting goaltender most of the way and there was finally some newfound hope for this Blues team that had been cellar dwellers in the Western Conference standings over the last few seasons.
But reality would hit that Blues squad early, as they dropped six games in a row in early November and then had a five-game losing streak in the middle of December. The Blues were struggling to find their identity and could not establish any sort of consistency with their team. The Blues limped into the new year in 2009 as they lost three straight between December 28th and January 2nd which dropped their record to a disappointing 14-21-3.
But near the end of January heading into February, the Blues started to slowly gain momentum. The team had won five of their last eight and were soon to gain back veterans Andy McDonald and Jay McKee to their lineup who had been out with injuries. Much of the traction the Blues were gaining was attributed to The Kid Line, as T.J. Oshie (22) and David Perron (20) were being centered by Patrik Berglund (20) and were generating much of the Blues offense.
But on February 26th, The Kid Line delivered one of their biggest performances yet. The Blues were in Dallas to take on the Stars in a grueling divisional matchup. The game was tied at one heading into the 3rd period behind goals from Jay McClement and Jere Lehtinen. But with just over 13 minutes to play, Oshie would receive a feed from Berglund and buried the shot short side over Marty Turco’s shoulder to give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Then just two minutes later, head coach Andy Murray sent The Kid Line out to go to work again. David Perron worked with the puck behind the net and found a passing lane to Patrik Berglund who slipped through a hole in the Stars coverage and Berglund would bury the puck past Turco to push the lead to 3-1. The Blues would hold on to win by that 3-1 score as their record improved to 27-26-8, their first winning record since December 8th. That win over Dallas would be part of a stretch where the Blues would win seven of 10 games to further increase their playoff chances.
As the season progressed into the final month, the Blues needed to continue to find consistency to win games to push themselves into the playoffs. They did just that, as the team went on a season long five game win streak from March 20th to the 29th. The Blues were in and out of a playoff spot several times in the month of March as the Blues, Blue Jackets, Wild, Ducks, Oilers and Predators were all pushing for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference. But on April 10th, game number 81, the Blues had a chance to clinch a spot if they could beat the Blue Jackets in regulation.
The Blues struck early on an Andy McDonald power play goal just over three minutes in. The Blues had one of the better power plays in the NHL that season as they were ranked fourth. That vaunted power play would strike again just five minutes later as Keith Tkachuk buried one past Steve Mason. The Blues took that 2-0 lead into the first intermission and were just 40 minutes from reaching the playoffs. But four and a half minutes into the second, Jiri Novotny would cut the Blues lead in half after scoring in a mad scramble in which Chris Mason was out of the crease area. But Blues legend Keith Tkachuk would need just two and a half minutes to answer, as he deflected a Jay McKee shot into the net past Mason. The Blues would hold that lead and go to win it 3-1 and clinch their first playoff berth since the 2003-04 season.
The Kid Line finished with these stats during the 2008-09 regular season:
Unfortunately, the Blues did not win a single playoff game that season as they were swept in four games by the third seed Vancouver Canucks. Despite being swept, it does not takeaway from what the Blues accomplished that season. The Kid Line helped hold the Blues together and push them into the playoffs as the three members of the line all finished in the top seven in terms of total points by Blues players that season . T.J. Oshie even had a goal of the year candidate against the Canucks as The Kid Line was undoubtedly a fan favorite that season.
Unfortunately, what lied ahead for The Kid Line after that 2008-09 season were decent outings but not anything Blues fans had hoped for. T.J. Oshie would have several good regular seasons for the Blues including three seasons finishing with 50 points or higher, however Oshie struggled in the postseason, recording just nine points in 30 career playoff games with the Blues. Oshie ultimately spent seven seasons with the Blues before being traded in the summer of 2015 to the Washington Capitals. But Oshie has had a solid career in Washington, as he has finished with 51 points or higher in three of four seasons there, and potentially four out of five if he records 17 more points this season. Oshie also won the Stanley Cup with the Caps in 2018 where he recorded 21 points in 24 games as he was a big catalyst for the Capitals postseason success. Of course, now Oshie is an All-Star thanks in part to the “Last Men In Vote” in which many Blues fans voted for Oshie out of the Metropolitan Division as he is still a player outside of the Blues that many hockey fans in St. Louis still root for and now he will be suiting up in St. Louis on Saturday night.
David Perron is also in the All-Star Game thanks to the Last Men In Vote. But Blues fans were appalled when Perron was not selected as All-Star right off the bat, as he is the goals and points leaders for the Blues who points wise are currently the best team in the Western Conference. But Perron’s journey to becoming an All-Star in 2020 is different from Oshie’s but not without its level of uncertainty. Perron as aforementioned was a first-round pick by the Blues in 2007. He spent the first six seasons of his career wearing the note and recorded 198 points in 320 games. But just like Oshie, Perron’s production dropped off severely come playoff time. In those first six seasons, Perron scored only two goals in 19 playoff games and added seven assists but many were not happy with his production given that he was getting top six minutes every game. This led to the Blues trading Perron to Edmonton in the summer of 2013 to the Oilers in exchange for Magnus Paajarvi and a second-round pick which later turned into Ivan Barbashev.
Perron went on to record a career high in goals that first year in Edmonton during the 2013-14 season with 28. But he currently only needs eight more goals during the 2019-20 season to surpass that. Then into his second season with the Oilers, Perron was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins and almost exactly one year later, was traded to the Ducks. After spending time on three teams in the span of two seasons, Perron became a free agent in the 2016 offseason. After losing their captain David Backes and Troy Brouwer to free agency, the Blues decided to bring back Perron on a two-year deal.
In his second stint in St. Louis, David Perron produced similarly to what he put up during his first six seasons with the club. Primarily playing on the second line, Perron recorded 46 points while playing in 80+ games for just the fourth time in his career. The Blues made the playoffs in the 2016-17 season and defeated the Minnesota Wild in five games before being ousted by the eventual Western Conference Champion Nashville Predators in six games. Perron struggled again in the playoffs, recording just one assist in the 13 games and was even benched several times in the second round series due to taking too many unnecessary penalties.
Perron had one year left on his contract but the Blues still had a decision to make. The Vegas Golden Knights were entering the NHL as an expansion franchise and were set to take part in the expansion draft where they got to select one unprotected player from each current NHL team. The Blues were deciding who to protect and the last slot came down to either Perron or fan favorite enforcer Ryan Reaves. The Blues ultimately chose to protect Reaves, as they were displeased with Perron’s playoff performance.
Perron of course would go on to make history with Vegas. He recorded 66 points, a career high while Vegas emerged as a top contending team in the NHL. Vegas ultimately made the playoffs, and defeated the Kings, Sharks, and Jets en route to becoming Western Conference Champions in their inaugural season before being defeated by the Capitals in five games in the Stanley Cup Final. Perron also recorded a then career high in points during a single playoff run with 10.
As the summer of 2018 rolled around, Perron was once again a free agent and he and the Blues decided on a third reunion as he signed for four years/$16 million. Perron immediately had one of his best seasons as a Blue, as he recorded 46 points in 57 games while battling injuries. The Blues, after being last place in the NHL in January, made it to the playoffs and reached the pinnacle of hockey by winning the Stanley Cup in improbable fashion after defeating the Jets, Stars, Sharks, and Bruins. Perron righted the ship as he recorded playoff highs in goals, assists, and points. He even had two crucial game winning goals; one in Dallas in Game 6 to force a Game 7 and the other in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to put the Blues up 3-2 in the series.
In the current 2019-20 season, Perron has exceeded expectations. Blues superstar Vladimir Tarasenko suffered a significant shoulder injury near Halloween and Perron has carried the team on his shoulders since. Perron leads the Blues in goals (21) and points (49) and leads the entire NHL in game winning goals with eight. The Blues are in trouble if not for the contributions of DP57 as he is on pace to break career highs in goals and points and has been rewarded with All-Star status.
David Perron and T.J. Oshie started with humble beginnings with the St. Louis Blues and both through different paths will find themselves on the ice for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game. Both went from high flying young guns who ignited a playoff push for the Blues a decade ago to players who would go on to win a Stanley Cup and become an NHL All-Star for the first time at ages 31 for Perron and 33 for Oshie. Both have been and continue to be great players in this league and it is going to be great to see both guys who became fan favorites over the years here in St. Louis reunite at Enterprise Center as All-Stars on Saturday. Thanks for reading as always.