The Montreal Canadiens have added even more veteran depth, this time signing Corey Perry to a one-year contract worth $750K. Perry is the fifth Stanley Cup winner the Canadiens have added this offseason, following Jake Allen, Joel Edmundson, Tyler Toffoli, and Michael Frolik.
Now 35, it’s easy to dismiss Perry as nothing but an extra forward on a team that already seemed to have too many for the NHL roster. But that would be diminishing the talent that the 2011 Hart Trophy winner still has, flashed once again in the postseason with the Dallas Stars. No, he won’t be scoring 50 goals again, but Perry adds some net-front touch and a bite that is hard to replicate. In the Stars recent playoff run, he scored five goals including a game-winner, good enough for fifth among Dallas forwards. That kind of secondary scoring is exactly what the Canadiens will need, considering they believe themselves to be a real contender for the playoffs in the new All-Canadian division.
The fact that Perry comes at a near-minimum cost removes any sort of risk for Montreal. Though the team technically projects to be over the salary cap at the moment, that can easily be fixed by either waiving one of their depth forwards or even moving a young name to the taxi squad for the start of the year. Though Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki, and Alexander Romanov are all expected to play big roles on the team this year, the fact that they’re all waiver-exempt could lead to some transaction gymnastics at the start of the year.
It’s interesting to see these veterans taking such low offers in a squeezed offseason. After his strong performance in the playoffs, one could have assumed that Perry might be able to secure a bigger salary in a normal year. Now the pressure is on for him to perform well enough to even keep his NHL career going. For the other teams in the North division, keep your head up.