Yesterday, The Hockey News published an article detailing five teams that should have an interest in signing former Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry, who was bought out last week after 14 years in Southern California. We linked the story this morning in Storm Advisory, so go check it out if you haven’t yet seen it.
The top team on their list? The Carolina Hurricanes.
The idea of signing Perry drew sharp lines on our staff. On one side, a contingent argues that while Perry is on the back nine of his career, he would fill a hole that no one on the Canes’ current roster can plug. On the other, an equally sizeable group wants nothing to do with a 34-year-old who has a lot of miles on the odometer, lost most of last season to an injury and has seen his production fall off precipitously.
We’ll make the cases below and then you can vote on what you’d do.
The Case to Sign Perry
By Andrew Schnittker
At first glance, the case for the Hurricanes signing Corey Perry is that of a simple “reclamation project”, bringing in a player who has been productive earlier in his career but has fallen on hard times, and hoping he gets back to his previous form.
Perry would certainly come at a relative discount after an injury-plagued season that saw him produce just six goals and 10 points in 31 games, and given that the Ducks owe him $13.25 million over the next four years after buying him out. However, this is not a simple reclamation project; it’s a bit more complex.
At 34, it’s extremely unlikely Perry returns to his 30-40 goal form, as he hasn’t scored more than 19 since the 2015-16 season. That’s not to say he couldn’t be a useful middle-six forward, and there’s plenty of evidence to support that.
In his last two healthy seasons (2017-18 and 2016-17), Perry put up 17 goals and 49 points and 19 goals and 53 points, respectively.
While Perry’s numbers last season in 31 games fall well short of that pace, he was also a victim of some absolutely rotten luck. Perry’s career shooting percentage is 13, and it dropped to 10.2 last year.
He also had a shockingly low PDO, at 93.6. For those unaware, PDO is the sum of a team’s save percentage and shooting percentage at 5 on 5 (and a player’s PDO is his team’s PDO with him on the ice).
A big part of Perry’s poor puck luck probably came from playing on a historically bad offensive team in Anaheim last season. The Ducks finished dead last in the league with 2.39 goals per game, dead last in shots for per game with 27.7 per game and dead last in scoring chances for percentage at 45.2.
Those numbers don’t exactly add up to a favorable situation for a goal-scoring power forward.
A move to the Hurricanes, however, should see plenty of opportunities for Perry’s luck to turn around.
The Canes were 16th in goals for per game at 2.96, first in shots for per game at 34.4 and first in scoring chances for percentage at a whopping 55.1. A shift to Carolina’s puck-possession, scoring chance machine system should be a boon to a player who’s been a strong finisher over his career, similar to what happened when Nino Niederreiter arrived in Raleigh.
There’s no reason to expect a healthy Perry can’t put up 15-20 goals and 35-40 points in a middle-six role for the Canes next season. While his numbers have fallen off a bit in that regard in the past few seasons, Perry has historically been a strong power-play finisher and his net-front presence could be a boon to what was a woefully inept man advantage last year, particularly in the playoffs.
In addition to his finishing ability, Perry definitely brings a physical edge to the lineup. In the likely event Micheal Ferland leaves for a raise elsewhere, Perry could be an ideal replacement.
A veteran with a Stanley Cup ring could also add some valuable leadership to a young room, and, should Justin Williams’ decision drag late into the offseason, provide some leadership insurance if the captain does decide to hang up his skates.
If Carolina is looking for a potential bargain signing to add depth scoring, physicality and leadership, Don Waddell should have Perry’s agent on speed dial when free agency opens next week.
The Case Against Signing Perry
By Justin Lape
It’s baffling to even consider Corey Perry as a potential free agent target for the Carolina Hurricanes. Perry was bought out last Wednesday and will not need to fulfill the remaining two years of his eight year, $69 million contract. With Perry hitting the free agent market, there will be suitors for his services. Let’s be clear: the Hurricanes should not be one of them.
Let’s look at financials. With Perry signing a new deal this free agency period, it’s pretty clear to see he will get less than his previous $8.625 million. However, it’s highly unlikely that Perry will take too significant of a pay cut given his accolades and that he’s in the later stage of his career at 34 years old.
Let’s say Perry signs similar to what Ilya Kovalchuk signed last off-season in his return from the KHL: 2 years, $6.25 million. That’s still an outrageous contract given the statistical comparables at that cap hit and nothing the Hurricanes front office should be considering.
Speaking of statistics, recent trends show a decline in Perry’s output instead of sustaining the status quo of a few years ago. Perry played just 31 games last season and had just 10 points (six goals, four assists). His career high of 98 points was in the 2010-11 season and the closest he’s come since is 82 points in 2013-14 season. He’s barely a positive possession player with a 51.5 CF% over his career. He’s far removed from the premier player he once was and there’s no indication that his production improves.
Don Waddell and company should stay as far away from Perry as possible. He doesn’t bring “veteran leadership.” He doesn’t bring the Hart Trophy and Rocket Richard winning skill of yesteryear. Instead, he’d bring frustration with penalty minutes committed, use up valuable ice time for younger players that may be developed next year as well as a large cap hit that could cause headaches over the next couple of years.
You Make The Call
Should the Hurricanes pursue signing Corey Perry in free agency?
This poll is closed
Yes, at any cost
Yes, if the price is right
No, unless they get a bargain
No, under any circumstances