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Corey Perry Goal of the Year

Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via Twitter

We’re finally getting around to reviewing the 2022-23 season. Instead of assigning grades or any of that nonsense, we’ll start by looking at the player’s best goal from the season and go from there. For some it’ll be easy, others have way more to choose from.


Corey Perry

Stat Line

81 games played, 12 goals, 13 assists,  95 PIMs, 116 shots, 16.3 ixG, 48 hits, 11:33 TOI

(Playoffs) 6 games played, 2 goal, 3 assists, 7 PIMs, 12 shots, 1.82 iXG (5v5), 10 hits, 11:05 TOI

Goal of the Year Video

Perry nets PPG on backhand
Corey Perry gets Anthony Cirelli’s feed, turns and sends it in with a backhand from out front on the power play to make it 1-0 in the 1st

Goal of the Year Description

This goal encapsulates everything special about late-career Corey Perry’s game. At the front of the net on the power play is where the vast majority of Perry’s game still exists because his stills in that region are so strong. Perry’s hand-eye coordination to deflect pucks from in front of the net resulted in several of his goals this season, as well as his physicality to make space for himself and be a distraction.

But I think Perry’s best quality in his game is his patience, and this goal of the year exudes patience. His ability to recognize where everyone was around him, including the goalie to his back helped him make the correct decision in that moment; don’t pass or shoot a backhand right away, but spin around and go coast-to-coast to get the goalie off balance and tuck the puck in just around the post.

The stick handling inside a phone booth part of his game also came good in the maze of sticks coming at him. I also timed how long the puck was on Perry’s stick while he collected it, spun, switched sides, and shot, and it was all done in just under 2 seconds. I’ve seen other big players make moves like that, but none quite do it as quickly as Scorey Perry. Crosby, Pavelski, and JVR might be the only players in that tier.

My most fun goal from Perry this season wasn’t the goal above, but this one against the LA Kings. It was Perry’s best celly of the season, sliding back on his knees giving the “thank you” to Nick Perbix.” Plus, Jonathan Quick being utterly dog poop at lateral movement and rebounds. And a touch of Perry’s cleverness to go behind the net to find all the open space in the world.

Screenshot from NHL website

How did the 2022-23 season go for them?

Perry’s 22/23 season went just about as well as his previous three seasons after leaving the Ducks. He’s been a good, veteran fourth liner with power play value, and isn’t a crater at 5v5. When you play fourth line minutes, there’s much more uncertainty that the work you put in, and the chances you create/prevent get reflected in the actual results. Missing two good chances and getting two bad breaks at the other end over the course of a season affects your goal differential a lot more than for someone like McDavid who plays 2.5x more minutes per night.

I’ve come to believe having “steady hands” at the wheel in those moments, players who can make good decisions and limit their mistakes, are best suited for the bottom end of the lineup. And there was few better lines than ones with Perry and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

Both last season and the year before Perry’s on-ice xGF% was 55%, meaning by chances he was winning his minutes comfortably. Two years ago, they were rewarded with buckets of goals for (37-25). Last year, however, they got buried at their own end (23-35). A complete 180 where goaltending was a good 4% worse (.040) while Perry’s lines were on the ice while shooting was about what it should have been. That’s how much things can swing on those lower lines, and often it’s not your fault.

I mentioned this in Bellemare’s end of season recap because naturally his goal differential was also tanked. I would’ve gladed had both back because those results were never their fault. They both played well, things just don’t go the right way sometimes, it’s no one’s fault.

Back to Perry, these microstats share the same story that we can see from his game. Excellent around the net with rebounds. Great vision to find chances and teammates. Good along the boards when it comes to forechecking and getting the puck out of the zone.

I think that last quality where Perry came control zone exits and entries is really important for any fourth liner because the last thing you want is for the fourth line to get stuck in their own zone and the other team’s top line comes out fresh. That’s every coach’s nightmare and fever-dream at the same time because it’s so dangerous.

And as you can see in the graphic below, Perry is at the tail end of his aging curve, but he’s settled nicely into a useful fourth liner. He didn’t show any signs of washing up last season so there’s every reason to think he’ll score about 10 goals and 25 points again.

2023-24 Contract Status

Perry was traded on the second day of the 2023 Draft for a 7th round pick in 2024 to Chicago. Perry was a pending UFA anyway and it didn’t sound like the Lightning were expecting him back. Spending the 7th for Chicago allowed them to talk to him and sign him before July 1st.

In hindsight, with the knowledge that Perry got a one-year, $4 million contract from Chicago, I don’t know if his new team needed to be worried because they were going to be far-and-away the highest bidder for his services. I think their real task was to convince Perry to come play on a bad team and mentor Connor Bedard, rather than take league minimum on a contender. I gotta say, foregoing any chance to win another Cup is going to cost a few million bucks.

A lot of people questioned the contract, and yes it’s ridiculous for what Perry brings to the game at this point in his career, but it is completely sound. At $4 million, Perry and Nick Foligno have instant status in the locker room that they’ll need to help rebuild the culture that’s been scrubbed away. They also needed a high enough number to not walk away to a contender. And finally, Chicago simply needed to get to the salary cap floor. They are so far from the ceiling that they might as well pay JT Brown $10 million to teach the players how to dress.

Do we expect them to score more or less next season?

Well he won’t be doing much of anything for the Lightning outside of being an annoying prick again for two games a year. See you on ESPN, Scorey Perry!

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