ARLINGTON — Corey Perry has erased last season from his mind.
Perry — who signed a one-year, $1.5-million contract with the Stars two weeks ago — only played 31 games for Anaheim last year, missing four months after surgery on his right meniscus and MCL during the preseason. When he returned, Perry put up career-low numbers for goals (six) and assists (four). His 14:49 of average ice time was his lowest since he was 21 years old.
The injury and the production led Anaheim to buy out the remaining two years on Perry’s contract that carried a $8.625 million cap hit. He landed with the Stars, who could pay Perry an additional $1.75 million in bonuses based on games played and number of playoff rounds.
“You never want to hear that, that you’re no longer needed or wanted,” Perry said Wednesday after taking batting practice ahead of the Diamondbacks-Rangers game. “It is a business, I get it. But at the same time, it gives me motivation and I put last year behind me with the injury and all that. I don’t really count it as a season, trying to come back in February is not the easiest thing to do. I’m going to come in to camp, I’m going to be 100%, feeling great and ready to play.”
Perry, 34, has a pedigree as a goal-scorer, once scoring 50 goals on his way to the Rocket Richard Trophy nine years ago. In his 13-year career, all with Anaheim, only three times did Perry score fewer than 40 points: his rookie season, the 2012-13 shortened season and last year.
“Missing four months and trying to come back in February, I don’t wish that upon anybody,” Perry said. “Everybody’s playing at top speed and you’re playing catch-up. To play 30 games, it was great that I got to play, but at the same time, you want to go through training camp, you want to start the season off on the right foot. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Perry figures to start the season in the Stars’ top six, but could also bounce around Jim Montgomery’s lineup. His $1.5 million cap hit is palatable and Perry could become one of the best bargains in the league if he produces again. Plus, he brings with him almost unparalleled winning in his career.
Here are the championships Perry has won in his career: the Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, a World Cup gold medal, a World Juniors gold medal, the Memorial Cup and the Ontario Hockey League title. Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer is the only other player to win those (swapping Perry’s OHL title for Niedermayer’s WHL ones).
“He’s won almost every award there is to win in hockey,” Stars goaltender Ben Bishop said. “I think him and one other guy are the only ones to win pretty much a championship in every single thing you can win a championship in. He’s always been a great player. It’ll be nice to have him on my team. I’ve been going against him for a while now. Definitely be a pleasure to have him on your side.”
Perry said he chose the Stars out of 10-12 teams he heard from after he was bought out, and cited the Stars’ advancement to the second round against St. Louis as evidence that they are close to winning.
This week, Perry found a place in Dallas to live and hopes to be settled by mid-August.
“Try to figure out where we are and how to get around,” Perry joked.
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