The Anaheim Ducks have been rumored to be considering finding a way to rid themselves of the contract of Corey Perry this offseason. Some argue that the 34-year-old star just needs to get healthy and work hard this summer in hopes he can have a bounce-back season next year. Others feel it would be better for the team to trade him or even buy out the remaining two years and $17.25MM.
It looks as if Anaheim come to a decision, however, as Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that the team has decided that they intend to move on from the long-time Duck and will begin looking for a trade partner. If they cannot find one, they intend to buy him out. General manager Bob Murray has stayed in touch with Perry’s agent, as Anaheim intends to treat Perry, who has played 988 games with the Ducks, with as much respect as possible during the process.
After a disappointing 35-37-10 season, which saw them far outside a playoff berth this year, the Ducks are looking forward to a rebuild of the franchise. The team is still searching for its next head coach, but intends to find someone who can help develop the massive amount of young forward prospects that are coming up through the system, including Sam Steel, Troy Terry, Daniel Sprong, Kiefer Sherwood, Max Comtois, Max Jones, Isac Lundestrom and Antoine Morand. With that much talent close to being ready for NHL duty, the team will have no choice but to open up roster space.
Perry signed an eight-year, $69MM extension back in 2013 when he was in his prime. He followed that up with a 43-goal season, followed by two 30-goal seasons, but hasn’t been able to produce as well since then. He tallied 19 goals in 2016-17, then a 17-goal performance in 2017-18, then just six goals and 10 points in 31 games last year after missing the first 51 games with a knee injury.
A trade would be challenging for Anaheim, considering the size of Perry’s contract and the likelihood the team would likely have to part with a top prospect or pick to find a team who would be willing to take on his cap hit. Throw in the fact that Perry has a full No-Movement Clause and the team may be forced to buy out the fan favorite. With the first buyout window starting in a week, Perry could conceivably be a unrestricted free agent at the start of free agency on July 1 and could give him an opportunity to join a veteran playoff team.