Stop us if you've heard this one before.
David Perron is off to a fast start with a new team.
Since joining the Ducks Jan. 16, Perron has scored eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games, mostly on a line with center Ryan Getzlaf and right winger Chris Stewart.
Something similar happened the last time he was traded.
After the Penguins acquired him from the Oilers Jan. 2, 2015, Perron racked up 12 points in his first 16 games while primary playing on the top line with center Sidney Crosby and right winger Patric Hornqvist. Over the course of his next 70 games in a Penguins jersey, Perron played with a variety of linemates and could only muster 26 points.
No one seems to understand why Perron struggled as badly as he did during the late stages of his Penguins career. General manager Jim Rutherford said, "I don't know what happened the last part of last year." Following his current team's practice at Consol Energy Center today, Perron declined to get into specifics on his struggles with the Penguins.
He did discuss up about his current success, why he enjoyed playing for the Penguins and how the late night trade to Anaheim - in exchange for left winger Carl Hagelin - went down.
How have things been so far with the Ducks?
"It's been good. It's been fun the way the team has been playing. I'm very impressed with this team because of the way they battled back from the start [of the season] they had. We're positioned right now in a good spot. We've just to keep winning and we're going to be fine."
What has worked with you on this line with Getzlaf and Stewart?
"We're just playing hockey. We're playing hard. Cycling the puck and finding each other. Just having fun playing the game. That's what's it's all about. Finding the confidence back and playing and knowing you're a good player in this league. Maybe I lost that a little bit there [with the Penguins]."
You had a fast start with the Penguins after you arrived via trade. Any similarities?
"Maybe the points but I don't think anything else is similar. Obviously I was scoring in Pittsburgh early on but I don't think I was affecting the game as much. I like the way I control the puck right now. I want to keep doing that. Obviously, it's nice to get points too but I think it goes with the success of the team we have. Three lines, it's tough to figure which one is going to be the line that's going to score. It's a good thing for us. Teams are going to have a hard time to check us."
What happened here? You had such a fast start and the production just dried up for you.
"I don't want to talk about that. I loved the organization and I loved the guys in that [dressing] room over there. I made some great relationships. Some really good friends. Sid and [and defenseman Kris Letang] and [goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury], those guys, we always had dinners on the road. [Left winger Chris Kunitz], I couldn't name them all. It was a lot of fun. The only thing, it didn't work. That's what what [general manager] Jim Rutherford and I and [head coach] Mike Sullivan talked when the trade happened. I wish it would have been different but that's the way it goes sometimes. It didn't click as good you wanted it to be. I'm happy I got a new start and it's going well."
You grew up a fan of former Penguins right winger Alexei Kovalev. Playing for the Penguins meant something to you.
"Absolutely. I loved it. I think at the time, you look at the opportunity, it's one of the best I got in my career to play with those guys and it didn't work out the way that I liked or they liked. I'm glad they could find in a way a fit for me somewhere else. It's going well so far. You look at the way we played against [Los Angeles Feb. 4], it's the toughest if not the toughest team in the league to play against, and we dominated them. We played them really hard and found a way to have a really good game. We been on a streak and we've got to just keep going."
How different is it playing in the Pacific Division and Western Conference compared to the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference?
"I think the [Western Conference] is obviously a more grinding type of game. I'm not the biggest guy but I think that fits my style. I'm not always on the go or something like that or always wanting to get a break or something like that. Yeah, it's nice if you get two-on-ones and stuff like that but I think I like to cycle the puck in the [offensive] zone. Even for Hagelin coming to Pittsburgh, I think it's good. They play that style a lot more and I think it's going to fit him well here."
Sullivan really wants the Penguins to skate and play at a high pace. Were you comfortable with playing that way?
"Oh yeah. It's fine. Sometimes the fit with guys didn't work as well as we wanted. It's not negative. It's just that's what hockey is. I don't know what to say. Sometimes there's better chemistry with others. I thought early on, it was there. It's not negative. Those guys are amazing players in the league and it didn't work out for me. I'm going to move on and hopefully it works out here."
You're scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. From that stanpoint, how important is it for you to finish this season strong and help the Ducks do well in the playoffs?
"It's definitely important for me. I like the way I can control the puck and impact the game. That's what I want to do here. I want to be a difference maker. I feel I can do that here. Obviously [Getzlaf] is another great player to play with. A different style of play than the guys maybe over there [with the Penguins]. I had so much fun there in Pittsburgh. Texting with the guys still for a while. I made a really close friend in [Letang]. We're going to be in touch probably the rest of our lives just because that one year we played together."
You were used as a F1 forward [lead forechecker] with the Penguins this season while playing with center Evgeni Malkin and right winger Phil Kessel. How different is your role with the Ducks?
"It's kind of the same. I played with [Stewart] before in St. Louis. He's a big guy. He goes in the corners. I think our game gets better once we're five, 10, 15 seconds the [offensive] zone. That's when we really start to come on and we can cycle the puck. This team is really good at doing that. Just playing against them, it's so hard to play against. It's hard to play against the [Los Angeles] Kings and San Jose. It's a big Western [road] trip when teams go there [to California], you know that before going it. It's a tough three games. It's fun to be on that side of it and playing with those guys that have been so hard to play against for a lot of years."
When the Penguins traded you to the Ducks, it happened early in the morning after you guys flew back from Tampa. What that day like?
"It happened on the plane. As I was coming off, it was 2 a.m. Jim [Rutherford] grabbed me as I was about to walk out. You just know. Things weren't really working great for the team either or myself and you know that something maybe will happen. I'm not saying I was shocked. I wasn't expecting anything to happen right away but I wasn't shocked at the same time. He was a gentleman with me the whole time, treating me well. That's a first class organization, all the guys. Sid is a really good leader. Same with [Malkin] and all those guys. So I don't think they're far from the goal of winning either. The good part about being traded at night is you have time to relax a little bit without getting killed by media calling you or friends or whatever. I had time to settle down a little bit, go home, relax for a couple hours. Actually, [Letang] came over to my house until probably 6 a.m. that day day [and] we talked."
(Photo: Michael Goulding/The Orange County Register)