General Manager Brian Burke
was determined not to let Corey Perry
get away as a restricted free agent this summer. He succeeded on Tuesday by getting Perry to agree on a five-year deal which runs through the 2012-13 season.
"Corey is one of the top young players in the NHL today," Burke said of the 23-year-old. "He's a true Duck, a hard-nosed goal-scorer who's difficult to play against."
Perry was happy not only to hear Burke's words of praise, but to have a deal done that will keep him in Anaheim for the long term.
"It's pretty amazing and something special," Perry said. "Anaheim is home now, and I didn't want to leave there. It's a great place to play hockey and it just shows how well that organization is run. You can't ask to play for a better organization than the Anaheim Ducks.
"It's just nice to get it over and done with pretty quick. The one thing I wanted to do was not worry about it too much and let things happen as they went. Fortunately, it happened today. I can’t wait for training camp to start."
Signing Perry was one of the top offseason priorities for Burke, who opted to buy out the remaining year on Todd Bertuzzi's deal to help create salary-cap space. The 33-year-old Bertuzzi, who signed with the Ducks last offseason, missed 14 games with a concussion and finished with 14 goals and 40 points in 68 games.
Despite missing the final 12 games of the regular season with a lacerated right quadriceps, Perry posted 29 goals and 54 points in 70 games. He finished with a plus-12 rating and 108 penalty minutes and established career highs in most offensive categories, including goals, points, plus/minus, power-play goals (11), game-winning goals (4) and shots (200). During the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he had two goals and three points in three games.
The leg injury, according to Perry, "is coming along."
"I'm still doing rehab and trying to get the scar tissue out," he said. "Everything is coming along pretty good, and my strength is coming back. The leg doesn't look like the atrophy has set in any more. It looks like a normal leg, which is nice. I should be 100 percent when camp starts. We have a couple of months to keep working at it, and it's just a matter of time of extra care with it."
Perry is glad he'll be a Duck for another five seasons.
"We're trying to get back to the Stanley Cup team that we were two seasons ago," Perry said. "That's everybody's goal and everybody's mindset. Being here for five years, hopefully we'll get that chance again in that term. We're putting high expectations for ourselves next year and we're trying to push for it again."
Perry has done most of his damage riding shotgun with center Ryan Getzlaf. Perry and Getzlaf, who represent the Ducks' future, were teammates for the Western Conference at the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta. They've been linked since being selected together in the first round of the 2003 Entry Draft, when Getzlaf was taken No. 19 by the Ducks and Perry was selected nine picks later.
The two were also linemates in 2004-05 with Portland, the Ducks' American Hockey League affiliate, and have remained together in the NHL. In November 2007, Getzlaf and the Ducks agreed on a five-year contract extension.
"I think Corey has demonstrated a very high compete level, which is critical to us," Burke said. "Both young players (Getzlaf and Perry) have demonstrated that. That battle level, we place a great premium on that. The fact is that both players are physical and hard-to-play-against guys, but they've also both put up good numbers. That's what we're rewarding here and betting on is that that package will continue, that these will be big, physical guys who are hard to play against and know how to control a game offensively."
Perry helped Anaheim win the Stanley Cup in 2007, finishing tied for second with 15 points in 21 playoff games. Among all active NHL players aged 23 or younger, only Perry (21 points), Getzlaf (29) and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin (26) and Sidney Crosby (32) have at least 20 career playoff points.
Perry has 59 goals, 123 points and 213 penalty minutes with a plus-25 rating in 208 NHL games with the Ducks. He has also appeared in 35 career playoff games, with eight goals, 21 points and 61 penalty minutes.
Burke admitted there was still no update on the future status of unrestricted free agent winger Teemu Selanne.
"We told Teemu and Scotty (Niedermayer), right after the season, that they called the tune a year ago and we had no problem with that but that it wasn’t going to happen again," Burke admitted. "Teemu's camp is well aware of that. If a deal comes across this desk in an hour that locks us up to the cap and means we're done and makes sense, we're going to do it. I'm telling you with some level, that doesn't look imminent. The prices we're hearing on people so far are well out of our range. Not that we couldn't pay some of them, but we're not interested in paying some of them. We are prepared to obtain whatever holes we have in our lineup, we’re prepared to fill them the old-fashioned way -- and we don't have to do it (Tuesday)."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com.