There is hardly a story quite like David Perron’s.

In 2004, Perron was eligible for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s midget draft.

He was still there in 2005.

And again in 2006.

By the sixth round of the 2006 QMJHL midget draft, Lewiston Maineiacs’ Head Scout Serge David and General Manager Clem Jodoin saw the skilled, Sherbrooke-born forward was still available. Despite two years of rumors that Perron was going to play college hockey in the United States, the Maineiacs selected him at 101st overall.

“At first, some of the teams were inclined to believe he might be an NCAA guy,” Maineiacs’ acting GM Ed Harding said. “When all of the teams in the Q hear that, they tend to stay away. They still weren’t sure in the second year, and then most of the teams probably just forgot about him and figured he’d go to the NCAA.”

Harding, who was Jodoin’s assistant at the time, credited David for sticking with Perron through all of the rumors. David knew Perron’s family, and knew he was then going to be ready to play in the QMJHL.

Now, 55 weeks later, Perron – who played Midget B hockey in 2004-05, and then Junior AAA in 05-06 – could be one of 30 players to take the stage tonight as a first-round pick in another very important hockey draft: The National Hockey League’s Entry Draft.

And he’s apparently a hot topic in Columbus, too.

“I was talking with a Columbus scout (Thursday),” Perron said. “He asked me, ‘Why the heck didn’t we draft you last year.’ I told him as a joke, ‘I don’t know, you tell me.’ I was a good player last year, too, but it’s hard when you don’t have a lot of exposure.”

He’s got planty of that now.

“I’ve talked with 26 of the 30 teams,” Perron said Thursday night. “My agent told me a team might trade down to pick me up, and that I would be pretty happy.”

Perron met Thursday with the Colorado Avalanche, the St. Louis Blues and two weeks ago, at the NHL scouting combine, met extensively with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“What the NHL guys are looking at is his ability to create offense,” Harding said. “There are things that he has the no one in this organization can really take credit for, too. He had great hands coming in, he can stickhandle in a phone booth, as they say.”

In his rookie season – at 18, he was still considered a rookie in the QMJHL – Perron led the Maineiacs offense with 39 goals and 44 assists for 83 points. The 39 goals were also tops among league rookies, and his 83 points were second behind Jakub Voracek of Halifax.

In his own quest to be the best, Perron spent more time on the ice than any other Maineiacs’ skater last season, often sneaking onto the ice early for practice and staying later, zig-zagging his way through mazes of pucks, and firing shot after shot at the corners of the net.

“He wanted to improve,” Harding said. “He knew he could be a pretty decent hockey player, and the culmination of his efforts might be seen (tonight).”

If selected among the first 30, Perron would continue Lewiston’s streak of consecutive first-round draft picks. Alexandre Picard went in the first round in 2004, Alex Bourret walked up the runway in 2005, and last year, Jonathan Bernier strolled up to the stage.

“Andy maybe next year, who knows with Peter Delmas and maybe (Danick) Paquette,” Perron said. “It’s great for the franchise in Lewiston.”

The David Perron file

Position: Forward

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’0″ Weight: 180 lbs.

Reg. season games played for the Maineiacs: 70

Playoff games played for the Maineiacs: 17

Reg. season stats: 39 G, 44 A, 73 Pts., 75 PIM

Playoff stats: 12 G, 16 A, 28 Pts., 22 PIM

Final Central Scouting rank: 10

Final International Scouting rank: 15

Final TSN rank: 17

Final Red Line Report rank: 58

NHL Draft specs

When: Friday and Saturday, June 22-23

Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Round 1); 10 a.m. Saturday (Rounds 2-7)

Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

How to see it: Versus (Round 1 only), coverage starts at 7 p.m.

Where to see it locally: The Shipyard Lounge at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee will provide a viewing party. Doors open at 6 p.m. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

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