Making a case for a Top Line of Perron, O’Reilly, and Tarasenko

(Photo Credit: Billy Hurst / La Presse Canadienne)

How many Blues fans do you know that insist, “You can’t break up Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, and Vladimir Tarasenko“? There are many that believe that line is just too good to mess with. I’m not one of those fans, but I am for keeping Schwartz and Schenn together. That’s for sure.

I think Alexander Steen, or even Robby Fabbri could end up playing the right wing on the Schenn line. Steen is just that guy that Mike Yeo is going to trust up there. As for Fabbri, we’ll see what he does at camp. If he brings it, well he’s my top candidate for pushing Steen down to the third line.

I feel like I’m suggesting the obvious here. However, I’ve seen some fans that think David Perron “isn’t a top line guy”, and others that insist Alexander Steen is just “too old to play in the top six”. I’m also aware that when it comes to Robby Fabbri, “We don’t even know what to expect out of him”.

I’ll tell you what to expect. Expect a lot of heart. Put yourself in his skates for a second. How are you going to respond? Honestly… after you’ve finally finished rehabbing your knee, and the doctors have cleared you to play hockey again. You get to go back to work, and it’s been hell… but you’re super excited.

You’re finally out there on the ice, participating at training camp with the rest of the team. You’ve done everything you possibly could to make sure your career could be revamped. You’re completely determined, after sitting… and watching, for too damn long. You have more fuel than any of your teammates. There’s just no comparison.

Okay, I’ll stop pretending that you’re Robby Fabbri now and move on…

So, in a perfect world, St. Louis’ top six looks like this:

  • Perron/O’Reilly/Tarasenko
  • Schwartz/Schenn/Fabbri

Now that I’ve finished breaking up the gang, I’ll explain why…

It’s pretty simple, really. It is my opinion that O’Reilly and Tarasenko will be a pair, just as Schwartz and Schenn are a pair. Perron is a top 2 left winger on this team and he plugs right in with O’Reilly and Tarasenko, considering the fact that Schwartz is surely the left wing to Schenn. If I am O’Reilly or Tarasenko, I would be thrilled to have Perron’s specific skill set on my line. Why?

I feel that David’s specialty is well defined. He simply creates space for his teammates by really holding onto the puck. It’s a difficult task to take the puck away from Perron. This is a great recipe for Tarasenko. Perron, while being a completely different player than Schwartz, can still hound the puck in similar fashion.

Last season with the Vegas Golden Knights, DP57 averaged 0.75 assists per game, and 0.94 points per game. If partnered with O’Reilly and Tarasenko, I expect success. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of the top lines in hockey.

When we consider Ryan O’Reilly at center, the first thing that comes to mind is winning faceoffs and starting with possession. Then we have David Perron, who is the perfect winger for this line, considering he can keep posession of the puck and draw defenders to himself.

This means more space for O’Reilly to make plays, and you better believe that O’Reilly scores more goals in the coming 2018-19 season than he did in 2017-18. Especially if Perron is his linemate.

Tarasenko isn’t going to have to change a thing. He’s going to go out there and do his thing, but in this case, Perron and O’Reilly are going to be a great play-making duo. Lucky Vladi.

Not just that. Take into consideration that David Perron is going to score goals if he is on a line with these 2 star players. I personally can’t believe that some fans are expecting a mere 40-50 points from Perron! I’d only believe that if Perron was to receive 3rd line ice-time with less talented players around him (which could happen), but I don’t think so.

Something else that can happen… This roster is still subject to change. If and when it does, it doesn’t matter. I’ll still stand by this top six line combination.

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