David Perron is kind of a jerk.

Which, if you’re the Edmonton Oilers, is kind of awesome.

How long have they been looking for a guy who can play, who nobody really likes playing against? Probably since Esa Tikkanan left.

And Perron, with his hacking at goalies, fencing with opponents, face-washing and running his mouth, as much at home in a scrum as he is around the net, fits the shift-disturber role rather nicely.

And, by nicely, we mean a jerk.

“There are games where if it’s not going the way you like, you try to get yourself going, and sometimes it’s the other team that gets you going,” said Perron, who, like most good agitators, shifts the blame to the other guys. “They chirp you, and for some reason I love when the other team is yelling at me, I get going even more after that. It’s part of my style for sure.”

It’s a style that has Perron in the team lead with seven goals and, if you don’t count tough guy Luke Gazdic, has him leading all Oilers forwards in penalty minutes.

It’s just the way he’s wired. Been like that since he was a kid, chopping away at his older brother in household ball hockey games.

“I was always playing with him and his friends growing up. I hated to play with kids the same age as me, I thought they weren’t good enough. I always wanted to play with the older guys. I was doing the same stuff back then (as he does in the NHL) but no one ever jumped me because I was just a little brother.”

The one with the big mouth who carried his stick a little high.

“The competitive side of me has always been there. I was pretty crazy when I was growing up. I always wanted to win. I was probably the worst loser. I hate losing. We could drop a ball down the hallway and it would be who’s the first to get it. I would be really frustrated if I lost.

“It wasn’t always pleasant for my parents growing up, but here I am now, so hopefully it helped me along the way.”

It never hurts to play with a bit of an edge. Ask any coach.

“When he’s moving his feet and finishing his checks and playing a little bit of an agitating game, he’s very effective,” said Dallas Eakins. “It’s almost like his hands light up, too.”

He and his linemates — Ryan Smyth and Boyd Gordon — have been at the forefront of Edmonton’s recent surge. They’ve been on for four goals in the last two games, and Perron’s been out there for two more on the power play.

“I’ve wanted to play with Perron for quite some time,” said Smyth. “He has an ability to hold onto the puck, and a guy or two, and still find ways to get a shot off or make plays. He’s a guy who’s not afraid to get in the corners. And you’ve got puck possession with Gordo winning the draws. I think the chemistry is going well. We get greasy.”