The Anaheim Ducks said farewell to a franchise icon earlier this month when they bought out the remaining years of Corey Perry’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent headed for the open market. The veteran forward is determined to return to a competitive level after failing to record 20 goals in each of the last three seasons, and it appears as though he’ll have more than enough opportunity. There was already reporting that linked Perry to the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks, but now Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet indicates that the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars are among those on his radar.
The Stars have also been linked to another veteran from the Pacific Division in Joe Pavelski, and as Friedman puts it they are “determined to add scorers.” That would certainly describe Perry, as the 34-year old has 372 goals including six seasons of at least 30. The question is can Perry still be that kind of player, dangerous on the powerplay and effective at even-strength. Dallas already watched the rapid decline of a former star over the last few years as Jason Spezza’s career wound down.
Montreal meanwhile seems to be poking around most free agent, though they won’t be able to bring in everyone. The team has almost $9MM in cap space right now but needs to sign a few restricted free agents and think about the extensions that Max Domi and Victor Mete will be after next summer. If they plan on bringing in some help on the blue line a deal for Perry would have to be relatively inexpensive.
That’s exactly what might happen with the former Duck, as Perry is actually eligible for a performance bonus-laden deal if he settles for a one-year contract. Despite not being 35 yet he qualifies because of the number of days he spent on injured reserve last season. That could be the perfect answer for teams like Montreal or Pittsburgh who may not want to sacrifice much cap space to the former Hart trophy winner.