This past week, there was news that the Edmonton Oilers are on the list of teams that Corey Perry has considered signing a new contract with. Perry started the 2023/2024 season playing for the Chicago Blackhawks but had that contract terminated on November 28th.
Why is Corey Perry A Free Agent?
In sixteen games this season, he put up four goals and five assists for nine points. At 38 years of age, playing for the 31st place team in the league, that was pretty good production. Chicago brought him in to help be a veteran leader for the 2023 first-overall pick and star rookie Connor Bedard. Unfortunately, he had an issue with alcohol, and that made him break a code of conduct within the Blackhawks organization. When mentioning the alcohol in his public apology, he stated that he was seeking help from people in the mental health and substance abuse fields.
Related Article: Should the Edmonton Oilers Acquire Elvis Merzlikins?
Edmonton’s need for a backup or 1B goaltender has been documented to death. It’s still the bigger priority, and I wrote about trading for Elvis Merzlikins just the other day. The hockey universe is more than well aware of the otherworldly offense on the Oilers roster. While Perry was having a good offensive season and has 892 career regular season points, it’s not just the points that he’d be brought in for. He won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and then, in recent memory, played in three straight Stanley Cup Final appearances. It is worth taking into account that head coach Kris Knoblauch doesn’t like making too many changes to a lineup that wins games, especially a lineup that just won 13 games in a row. But still, Perry would bring a wealth of playoff pedigree to a team that prides itself on playing a cup-or-bust season. I know I said this wouldn’t just be about points, but in those Cup Final appearances I mentioned, he put up 30 Playoff points in total with the Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Add another 5 Playoff points from Round 1 last year. Yes, he is still good at hockey.
Perry is also arguably the game’s best pest. He’d replaced the grit and swagger that Klim Kostin gave last season. Dylan Holloway returned to the lineup against the Calgary Flames last night and played on the fourth line. I think that deployment was to help him get back up to speed in an NHL game. He’ll be back on the third line shortly and could surely learn a lot from having a former Rocket Richard and Hart trophy winner on his line. Perry also wouldn’t cost as much as the $4M on his Blackhawks contract.
What strikes me more about the possibility of signing Corey Perry is he would be the third player in the Connor McDavid era to rejuvenate his image after playing in Edmonton. Zach Kassian was an enforcer who got suspended and traded due to substance abuse issues. Even though I wasn’t happy with the dollars in the contract he was re-signed to back in 2020, he added to the locker room comradery between 2016 and 2022. In the 2021/2022 season, when the Oilers were at a low point, they brought in the controversial Evander Kane. Fans, including myself, were 100% against that idea at first. But he understood after moving from team to team that Edmonton was his last chance to keep a job in the NHL, and he’s made good on it. I still expect some talk on both sides to learn more about what went down in Chicago before a signing. Some rumors on social that Perry may’ve had relations with a teammate’s family member were baseless and insensitive. But I’ve warmed up to the idea of seeing him in an Oilers uniform. If he can do the same as Kassian and Kane, Edmonton really will be the hockey city of second chances.