Perry with Hart

Why would the Ducks trade Perry?


Corey Perry is a pending unrestricted free agent and the Ducks don’t want to watch the 2011 Hart Trophy winner walk away for nothing.

I get that.

Especially since Anaheim lost Justin Schultz for nothing last summer.

But the Ducks are also 16-3-3, second in the NHL behind the undefeated-in-regulation Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim itself has only lost once in regulation its last 12 games.

In addition to Perry, the Ducks have an elite center in Ryan Getzlaf, plus other talented forwards like Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.

There’s additional depth down the middle with Nick Bonino. There’s mobility and experience on the back end. And Jonas Hiller is starting to rediscover his form in goal after a rough start, during which Viktor Fasth came out of nowhere to win his first eight starts.

True, some people in the advanced-statistics community think the Ducks are an illusion, but doesn’t the organization owe it to the fans to find out for real?

The whole idea of putting together an NHL team is to take a shot at the Stanley Cup. Perry has helped the Ducks to one before. If they trade him as a rental, they’ll almost definitely be a weaker team heading into the postseason.

Unless things change dramatically between now and April 3 — or maybe unless general manager Bob Murray doesn’t believe the Ducks are for real either — how would trading Perry make sense?

Video: Ducks’ Perry finishes off a pretty passing play

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.