ST. LOUIS — It’s been a season and a half since David Perron was coached by Gerard Gallant with the Golden Knights.
“We were sitting in a team meeting, and right before the meeting someone came in the room and said, ‘Hey, Vegas fired Gerard Gallant,’ and I kind of shrugged it off. I thought they were joking,” Perron said Thursday during the NHL All-Star Game media day.
“After the meeting, I was weird, and the guys could kind of tell, even though he’s not my coach anymore. I felt for him a lot. I felt for (assistant coach) Mike Kelly, and I have a ton of respect for them.”
Perron was a key figure for the Knights during their inaugural season, helping the expansion team reach the Stanley Cup Final.
He posted career highs in points (66) and assists (50) in 70 games, but signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the Blues as a free agent in 2018.
Perron’s agent, Allan Walsh, said at the time that the Knights did not make a new contract offer during free agency after the two sides discussed a deal that February. Then-general manager George McPhee said the team made offers to all of its unrestricted free agents that summer.
“He’s one of the first coaches who gave me a role that I was able to show this year again where the more you give me, hopefully the more I’m going to give back,” Perron said of Gallant. “Even though I know I’m not always the greatest defensive player for certain situations, (Gallant) would put me out there with a minute left to extend the lead or close out games. I took a lot of pride in doing that with him because he trusted me a lot.”
Perron, 31, is thriving in his third stint with St. Louis, which drafted him in the first round in 2007. He leads the team with 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in 49 games and was voted into his first All-Star Game by fans.
“Obviously over the years I’ve come and left (St. Louis) for different reasons, and they’ve always supported me,” Perron said. “Even on other teams I was getting a lot of messages from them. They mean a lot to me.”
Participants in the NHL skills competition:
Jack Eichel, Buffalo; Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado; Connor McDavid, Edmonton; Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders; Chris Kreider, New York Rangers; Anthony Duclair, Ottawa; Travis Konecny, Philadelphia; Quinn Hughes, Vancouver.
David Rittich, Calgary; Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh; Jordan Binnington, St. Louis; Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay; Frederik Andersen, Toronto; Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver; Braden Holtby, Washington; Connor Hellebuyck, Winnipeg.
Jaccob Slavin, Carolina; Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit; Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton; Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida; Nico Hischier, New Jersey; Tomas Hertl, San Jose; Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis; Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg.
Mark Giordano, Calgary; Seth Jones, Columbus; Shea Weber, Montreal; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay; Elias Pettersson, Vancouver; John Carlson, Washington.
David Pastrnak, Boston; Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary; Patrick Kane, Chicago; Tyler Seguin, Dallas; Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa; Ryan O’Reilly, St. Louis; David Perron, St. Louis; Mitch Marner, Toronto; Women’s Elite All-Stars, TBD.