With Kyle Dubas leading the charge, the Toronto Maple Leafs have tried to add seasoned veterans to their lineup in recent years, and that doesn’t appear likely to change this coming off-season. The latest buzz appears to be that the Maple Leafs could have a veteran out of the Montreal Canadiens organization on their radar.
According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, don’t be at all surprised if the Leafs try and sign Corey Perry during the offseason. He is currently a member of the Montreal Canadiens playoff roster but slated to become a UFA at the end of the season. The 36-year-old, who won both the Hart and Rocket Richard Trophy back in 2011, scored nine goals and 21 points in 49 regular season games with the Habs this season and currently has three goals and seven points in 12 playoff contests.
Though he was never known as a quick player, Perry has certainly lost a step in recent years. It was one of the reasons the Anaheim Ducks chose to buy him out prior to the 2019-20 season. Despite that, he is still quite an effective player.
In his prime, Perry was one of the best goal scorers in the world, and still possesses an incredible shot. He also has a nose for the net, and has never been afraid to go to the dirty areas to score. Leafs fans got a first-hand glimpse at his effectiveness recently, as he played a big part in why the Habs were able to knock them out in the first-round this year.
On top of his skill, Perry is also known for his agitating style of play. He is nicknamed “Worm” because of some of the stunts he’d pull, whether it be a questionable hit, or just an unnecessary act to try and get under opponents skin. Due to this reputation, no one was surprised to see that it was him who knocked Leafs captain John Tavares out of the series with a knee to the hit, although it was very evident upon replay that it was completely accidental.
It is no secret that the Leafs have had to cap juggle in recent years given the fact that their four big guns in Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and Tavares all have lucrative contracts. That explains why targeting Perry would make a lot of sense, as his deal this season with the Habs carried a cap hit of just $750,000.
While most would agree he played better this season than a year prior with the Dallas Stars, it is unlikely due to his age that he has earned much if any of a raise. He has also earned over $86 million in his career according to CapFriendly.com, so he likely wouldn’t mind taking another very cheap deal in order to try and win the Stanley Cup, something he has not done since 2007.
Maple Leafs Have Been Interested in Perry Before
If Dubas goes after Perry, this won’t be the first time. Simmons detailed how the Leafs were interested in Perry right after he shook loose from Anaheim, but at the time, they couldn’t afford him. He says they also considered him this summer when Perry signed late in the offseason with Montreal. Dubas went and signed Wayne Simmonds first, leaving no room for Perry.
Perhaps Dubas switches up his priorities, but Simmons seems to think that, whatever the Leafs decide to do, Perry will be on their radar again.
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