In a bit of a surprise move, the Anaheim Ducks bought out longtime pest Corey Perry after another lackluster season in 2018-2019.
The buyout now makes Corey Perry a free agent and able to sign with any team on July 1st. As we near that date, reports have come out that teams from around the league have a significant interest in Perry.
One of those teams — you guessed it — is the Chicago Blackhawks.
I, like many in Blackhawks’ fandom, really hated this idea when I first heard it, but as I let it settle in, I became okay with the idea of Perry on this team.
Perry looks to be a hot commodity as dozens of teams are reported to have interested in the services of the pesky forward, but is he a fit in Chicago?
Why Corey Perry Could Be a Fit
When you look at Perry’s injury-shortened season in 2018-2019, it is a wonder how anyone could be interested in a player like Perry. He was only able to suit up for 31 games and put up 10 points for the offensively inept Ducks.
Over the past four seasons, we have seen a steady decline in Perry’s offensive numbers. If you remove the injury-laden season from the equation, Perry seems to still be an effective offensive player who could provide some solid depth and net-front presence on a relatively cheap deal.
In an interview with Jeremy Colliton on the Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Colliton noted that the Blackhawks need a bit more grind in their game. Someone who can play in the tough areas, which is something that Perry really checks the boxes on.
Perry seems to have his pick of where he wants to end up and is likely to be looking for a short term deal, with a team that can possibly propel him to another multi-year contract to end his career.
Another player that I touched on earlier this week who the Blackhawks could target in free agency is San Jose forward, Joe Pavelski, who is also 34 and could be leaving a team that he has played with his entire career. If the Blackhawks were to target a player like Pavelski, would they also target a player like Perry?
I think it is possible, because they play completely different styles and would play different roles in the lineup.
When looking at the metrics between the two, it clearly shows that Pavelski has been an elite shot producer over the last year. However, when it comes to possession, Perry has been very good and shows that he still has some value at the NHL.
Although Pavelski played a large chunk of the season at center, I could see him getting flexed over to wing to play on a top line with Jonathan Toews.
As for Perry, he seems to slot into a middle six role that could give the Blackhawks some net-front presence and be the pest that they currently don’t have in their lineup or system.
Why Corey Perry Isn’t a Fit
Corey Perry is a player I think many Blackhawks and NHL fans can agree is one that we really hate, but is that a reason to not want him as part of the team?
Honestly no, but one reason would be his age and rapid decline. Perry just having just undergone MCL surgery is also a difficult pill to swallow at the age of 34, especially considering he has also never been the fastest player in the league. This would be a major concern.
The issue is that in a league that continues to evolve into one where speed is king and slower players are getting weeded out, Perry seems to be a player of the past.
He is a player however that would thrive in playoff hockey, so is he worth carrying for 82 games to then have him unleashed in a playoff series?
At his cost, I think it might be.
I get it if you are skeptical about adding Corey Perry (see above video), but he could be another value add for a forward group that could use a bit more edge.
Perry won’t cost much in term or in cap space and can, if healthy, be a piece that helps get the Blackhawks back into contention in an extremely competitive Central Division.