David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that free agent forward Corey Perry is anticipated to sign with the Edmonton Oilers. Pagnotta states that a formal announcement of the agreement is anticipated later on Sunday.
Though a decision for Perry is imminent, according to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, “nothing done yet” between Edmonton and the 38-year-old veteran.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers were notably mentioned by Seravalli as more bidders involved in the “exhaustive process” of pursuing Perry. It appears that there is still a chance for one of these teams to get the former Hart Trophy winner.
Perry’s market was said to be heating up just 10 days ago, and “several” teams had expressed interest in adding the veteran. His contract with the Chicago Blackhawks was terminated in November, making him available on the open market.
Perry, 38, was signed by the Blackhawks to a $4 million, one-year contract after Tampa Bay traded for his signing rights. Before the team benched him due to an event that they said went against the terms of his contract and organizational norms, the former Hart Trophy winner had four goals and nine points in 16 games in Chicago. Shortly after being fired, Perry released a statement in which he promised to “discuss his struggles with alcohol” with mental health professionals.
Perry signed with the Oilers, who are undoubtedly the hottest club in hockey, to join his new squad. Despite a terrible start, Kris Knoblauch’s team is currently on a thirteen-game winning streak and, with four games remaining, is only six points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for second place in the Pacific Division.
Considering his potential role in the Oilers lineup, Perry may end up replacing Derek Ryan as the team’s third-line right winger, freeing Ryan to return to the fourth-line center position. The Oilers wouldn’t have enough salary space right now to sign Perry outright; instead, they would need to make a trade in order to make room for him. That might be done by sending center James Hamblin back to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, where Ryan would assume Hamblin’s place as the fourth-line center.
Given how well the Oilers are playing, he is unlikely to be able to break through the top six, but if he can start the season strongly in Alberta, he could be able to receive a look in a net-front power-play role.