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Oilers’ UFA History Proves Signing Corey Perry Won’t Be an Issue

The Edmonton Oilers have emerged as a speculative destination for Corey Perry, given a willingness to provide players with second chances.

ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reports that multiple NHL teams are exploring the possibility of signing veteran forward Corey Perry for the second half of the season. While it remains uncertain if the deal will materialize, there is notable interest, with at least one team conducting thorough due diligence to assess any potential off-ice incidents beyond Perry’s well-documented alcohol-fueled incident in Chicago. Is that team the Edmonton Oilers?

The Oilers have emerged as a speculative destination for Perry, given their historical willingness to provide players with second chances (see Evander Kane). Perry, a 38-year-old veteran, initially started the 2023-24 season with the Chicago Blackhawks and found success on the ice before an alleged alcohol-related incident at a team function led to his termination from the Blackhawks. His contract was terminated and he took some time to seek help from professionals. Now, it appears he’s ready to return.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported a meeting between Perry and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, indicating that teams may now be more receptive to signing him with the league’s approval. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli emphasized the significant interest in Perry, despite the off-ice hiccup. He reports:

“I can tell you this: three NHL GMs had called me the week he was suspended from the Blackhawks when all of this was hanging in the balance. The question to me was: ‘What happened? What do you know? How bad was it?’ and then the next thing was, ‘What do you think the blowback would be like if we signed this guy?’

Perry’s desire to speak with Gary Bettman and the NHL was his way of also scouting the market and assessing the potential blowback. If they feel the past incident isn’t too bad, the Oilers aren’t a team that cares all that much about the PR, at least not based on their history.

Would Corey Perry Fit With the Red-Hot Oilers?

For the Oilers, signing Perry could align with their history of offering redemption to players with a troubled past. The team has previously taken chances on individuals like Craig MacTavish, Zack Kassian, and Evander Kane, providing them with opportunities for second acts in their careers. While the specifics haven’t been revealed, there is a belief that whatever Perry did, doesn’t measure up to that level of severity.

For a team like the Oilers, if Perry is productive and the incident was little more than a blip, he could be a strong fit.

Would Corey Perry be a fit for the Oilers?

Perry, with a proven track record of offensive contributions and a reputation for being a pest on the ice, could potentially fill a role on the Oilers’ third line. The Oilers recently moved Ryan McLeod to the wing and speculation is they’ll test Dylan Holloway at center. Perry could be a better and more experienced alternative. He has a history of valuable contributions, reaching three of the last four Stanley Cup Finals.

Crucially, signing Perry would likely come at a minimal cost for the Oilers, making it a financially prudent move. Given Perry’s recent deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, the Oilers have the cap space to accommodate a pro-rated deal for the remainder of the season, potentially at a league-minimum salary.

The Oilers may see an opportunity in Corey Perry. If so signing the veteran forward to contribute to their quest for a Stanley Cup title makes sense if the options aren’t there internally. So too, the potential signing could offer Perry a chance at redemption while providing the Oilers with a seasoned player at a reasonable cost.

Next: Mutual Interest Between Maple Leafs and Corey Perry [Report]

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