Ranked as high as 15th in some hockey scouting circles, Lewiston Maineiacs’ winger David Perron sat at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday night and watched as the numbers on the National Hockey League’s draft board filled up.

Fifteen passed. So did 20.

And 25.

“I was getting nervous near the end,” Perron admitted late Friday night. “I was thinking, ‘Oh no, I might have to come back tomorrow.'”

With the 26th pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues put an end to Perron’s anxiety, selecting the nimble 18-year-old forward in the first round.

“There was a lot of surprises in the first round, from the beginning,” Perron said.

Perron emerged this season virtually out of nowhere. In 2004-05, he played Midget B hockey in Canada. According to some Quebec Major Junior Hockey League scouts, Perron had aspirations of playing at an NCAA school in the United States, and he was overlooked in their midget draft.

Twice.

Last summer, the Lewiston Maineiacs selected Perron in the sixth round, 101st overall. All he did in his rookie season was lead the Maineiacs in scoring, with 39 goals and 44 assists for 83 points.

In the QMJHL playoffs, Perron went a step further. In 17 games, the speedy forward with quicker-than-lightning hands tallied 12 goals and added 16 assists for 28 points, best on the team and third overall in the league.

On Friday, the waiting started early, and the anticipation crept higher as each team’s representatives paraded to the podium.

“There’s always some hopes,” Perron said. “But it’s hard, because you can’t say for sure until you hear your name.”

Perron’s selection marks the fourth consecutive year a Lewiston player has gone in the first round, setting a QMJHL record. Alexandre Picard (2004, Columbus), Alex Bourret (2005, Atlanta) and Jonathan Bernier (2006, Los Angeles) are the other three.

“It’s great to continue the tradition in Lewiston,” Perron said, and was then whisked away to a Blues’ team function – at 12:15 a.m.

Perron was one of four players from the QMJHL selected Friday night. Jakub Voracek of Halifax fell to No. 7, where the draft host Columbus Blue Jackets selected the rugged forward.

His teammate in Halifax, Logan MacMillan, was the next QMJHL skater selected. The Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks selected MacMillan at No. 19. On his heels, former No. 1 prospect Angelo Esposito went No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Several other Lewiston skaters are eligible for this year’s draft, and as many as four could be selected in today’s portion.

Kevin Marshall, a gritty, stay-at-home defenseman, is the highest-remaining Maineiac on the board, and is projected as a mid second round selection.

Other players in their first year of eligibility include Michael Ward and Patrick Cusack, two more members of the Maineiacs’ stingy blueline corps.

Sebastien Piche, who, like Perron, is 18 years old, is in his second year of eligibility. With a strong showing at the Memorial Cup tournament in May, Piche also has an outside shot to be a late-round choice.

Perron said Friday night he planned to return to Nationwide Arena today to watch the rest of the draft.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.