Likely it will be a buyout for Perry, 34, who has been banged up and on the down-slope for a bit. But while Perry is no doubt a “high mileage” type of player you don’t have to look that far to see him being an effective and productive player.
And the data will clearly show that 2018-19 Perry was awful, but he’s been a good player for a long period of time.
Perry brings experience with 118 career NHL playoff games, scoring 89 points along the way to be known as the type of guy a team wants “when the going gets tough”. Perry also has two Olympic gold medals playing for Team Canada and has a lot of shared time internationally with Sidney Crosby teams.
In a lot of ways Perry looks like a Patric Hornqvist at this part of his career; a pesty right handed right wing shot, good on the power play and in front of the net, volume shooter but one with questions about even strength effectiveness.
Given how the Penguins already have Hornqvist, adding Perry doesn’t make a ton of sense. It makes less sense with Phil Kessel still around, though that could change at about any moment. Add in Bryan Rust too, and the Penguins don’t seem to need right wing much.
But much can change since Kessel is likely to be traded at some point soon, and who knows how out of the box management might get with players like even Hornqvist and Rust. At this point perhaps no one other than Crosby is truly safe, though Evgeni Malkin and his no movement clause isn’t showing any signs of going anywhere either.
Perry on a short, cheap deal could be an interesting proposition if the Penguins do move a right wing in a trade prior to free agency opening July 1. There’s always the risk he might not have a lot left in the tank, but whether it’s been Bill Guerin in 2009 or Chris Kunitz in 2016 and ‘17, the Pens usually do well with a grizzled veteran winger lending on and off-ice leadership.
For Perry the chance to join a Penguins team looking to recapture glory seems to be a good fit for the player. If he’s bought out (likely) then he’ll have money coming in from Anaheim. He could always chase more, but at this point in his career the allure of playing with Crosby or Malkin and trying to win more has to be strong.
A player like Corey Perry in 2019 isn’t going to be a huge impact player, but could provide another option. And one that would likely be on a short and fairly reasonable contract. More options could mean the chance to be creative. Right now the Pens definitely have bigger and more important items to sort out with their forward group - namely what happens to Kessel - but a move sending Kessel out could open a hole on that right side. And now with Perry at least probably heading to the open market, there’s another name in the mix to consider.