David Perron Deal Unlike Past Penguins Draft Pick Giveaway Nightmares

Andrew Petyak@@ajpetyakContributor IIIJanuary 3, 2015

Derek Leung/Getty Images

You finally have one, Pittsburgh fans.

A top-six winger. David Perron.

Feels good, eh?

Absolutely nothing can ruin this moment for you, right?

Unfortunately, there are always those who find reasons to gripe.

In this case, it's a small minority, but the issue still needs to be addressed.

Some Penguins fans are distraught about the team giving away a 2015 first-round pick to acquire Perron from the Edmonton Oilers, a trade first reported by TSN's Darren Dreger.

Sure, former Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero unloaded picks as if he were allergic to them on a yearly basis.

While his replacement, Jim Rutherford, seems to be continuing the tradition in his first year with the team, there's a clear difference in what Shero did and what Rutherford has done so far.

Maybe a bit of history first...

There's reason enough to suggest the fear of losing draft picks spawned from the dealings of Shero during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

Ray Shero made a string of bad moves at the end of his tenure in Pittsburgh
Ray Shero made a string of bad moves at the end of his tenure in PittsburghMatt Freed /Post-Gazette
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In a bid to win his second Stanley Cup with the team, Shero was perhaps a bit too aggressive in trading for pieces during the season.

While Shero made a few smaller deals to acquire and move some bottom-round picks throughout the year, there are three trades that helped define the Penguins that season and may have contributed to the demise of both Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma in the process.

In a bit of March madness, Shero unloaded four draft picks in a span of three days for roster players.

March 24, 2013

The Penguins acquire longtime Dallas Stars forward and captain Brenden Morrow and a 2013 third-round pick for top prospect Joe Morrow and a 2013 fifth-round pick.

The trade for Brenden Morrow drew the ire of many Penguins fans
The trade for Brenden Morrow drew the ire of many Penguins fansGetty Images

While Joe Morrow wasn't a future draft pick, he still represented the future value of a draft pick. Though he had slipped a bit defensively that season, Morrow was still considered one of the team's top prospects. 

Brenden Morrow was decent enough for the Penguins, racking in 14 points in 15 regular-season games. However, a knee injury hobbled him throughout the playoffs and limited him to just four points in 14 games. Though, it could be argued he played well in spurts throughout the playoff run. 

He would sign with the St. Louis Blues the next season.

Joe Morrow went to Boston in the Tyler Seguin deal. He looked solid with the Bruins in 15 games this year, posting a goal and a plus-three rating before being sent down to the team's AHL affiliate in Providence for more playing time. 

Many Penguins fans were perplexed at the deal, questioning why a top prospect—a first-round pick in 2011—was traded for a rental player who could be considered washed up and injury-prone.

March 25, 2013

The Penguins acquire veteran defenseman Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks for two second-round picks.

This one stung a bit.

Bylsma's "system" required a certain element of speed to it. Part of the reason Shero drafted so heavily in high-round puck-moving defensemen in his drafts was because of this. 

What better way to blow two second-round picks on a slow, lumbering defenseman in Murray?

While puck-moving, big-bodied prospect Simon Despres found himself in a familiar place under Bylsma in the press box, Murray logged some insignificant minutes in an obviously unneeded role. 

Pittsburgh fans have plenty to gripe with in this trade. Combining Bylsma's maddening refusal to play his young players with potential, Shero burned through two potential assets in draft picks for a player who wasn't a necessity.

March 27, 2013

The Penguins acquire winger Jarome Iginla for a 2013 first-round pick and wingers Kenneth Agostino and Ben Hanowski.

This one brings a single tear to the face of every Pittsburgh fan. Iginla was the Holy Grail of the trading deadline, a sign that the team was ready for another huge Cup run.

Jarome Iginla was put in a position to fail in Pittsburgh
Jarome Iginla was put in a position to fail in PittsburghJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

So what happened? The future Hockey Hall of Famer, who played 16 seasons with the Calgary Flames as a right winger, was for some unfathomable reason moved to the left wing on a line with Evgeni Malkin.

Sounds like a recipe for success.

The Penguins, with the combined follies of Shero and Bylsma, were ousted in the Eastern Conference Finals that season against the Bruins in a devastatingly embarrassing sweep in which Pittsburgh only scored two goals.

Gone were Iginla, Murray and Morrow at the end of the season, and so were the draft picks.

So why is Rutherford's trade for Perron any different?

The first reason is a simple one: Perron is signed for this season and the next. 

This isn't a one-year rental player like Iginla, Morrow or Murray. Perron will have at least two playoff runs with the Penguins. 

Here's another thing, unlike the three players listed above, Perron is still young at just 26. In fact, he's younger than both Penguins superstars Malkin (28) and Sidney Crosby (27). 

There's no reason to believe Pittsburgh wouldn't want to re-sign Perron in a few seasons. In fact, Rutherford has said as much:

Perron is a very talented player. His best year statistically came last season when he scored 28 goals and had 57 points. He's a gritty player and a major pest. Best yet, he'll do anything it takes to win:

A long sigh of relief will come when naysayers realize Bylsma isn't behind the bench for the Penguins anymore.

Though Mike Johnston hasn't quite proven himself yet, it's hard to imagine he'd put Perron at goalie or grossly misuse him like Bylsma did Iginla and countless other players during his tenure.

Then there is the concept of developing through the draft, an idea that is sound and a theory used by many teams throughout sports to effect.

Like most draft processes, the NHL draft is a crapshoot. The Penguins pick that they surrendered will likely be in the bottom portion of the first round in 2015. According to Adam Gretz at SB Nation, 88 percent of players drafted late in the first round made an appearance in the NHL from 1995 to 2005. Of those players, 63 percent played more than 100 games in the league. 

Gretz throws Shero's Penguins under the bus, and rightly so, for disposing of picks for players who did little to nothing.

While it looks like Pittsburgh's traded first-round pick will likely make an NHL experience and has more than a 50/50 chance of playing in the league for more than 100 games, what are the chances he becomes a gritty, 30-goal potential player like Perron?

The Penguins have enough defensemen to last the next decade in their system and two generational talents at center. There's a very high chance Pittsburgh would have spent that 2015 first rounder on a winger for Crosby or Malkin.

Even if the draft pick were to become as good of a player as Perron, the Penguins would likely have to wait three of four seasons for that player to develop in the lower leagues and then maybe a whole other season or two to adapt to the NHL game.

Meanwhile, the clocks on Crosby and Malkin are ticking.

Finally, here's the main plot Penguins fans: The team has needed top-six wingers for a long time. They've got one in Perron.

Enjoy it.

Embrace it.

Love it.

 All statistics courtesy of NHL.com.