The Anaheim Ducks are set to part ways with one of their franchise’s cornerstones over the past 14 seasons.
TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Ducks were putting the final touches on the paperwork to buy out the 34-year-old on Wednesday morning. Seravalli said Perry is likely to avoid waivers due to his no-movement clause in his contract.
The Ducks then made the move official not long after.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my 44 years in the NHL,” Ducks GM Bob Murray said in a statement. “Corey gave everything to this franchise for 14 years, never giving an inch to his competitors.
“While his scoring touch is undeniable, his will to win became his greatest attribute. We thank Corey for everything he’s meant to the organization. No matter what he elects to do from here, Corey, his wife, Blakeny, and his son, Griffin, will always be part of the Ducks family.”
Perry was set to enter the seventh year of an eight-year, $69 million deal signed prior to the 2013-14 season.
The move saves the Ducks $6 million in cap space for the coming season, giving the team just over $15 million of wiggle room based on the projected $83 million salary cap for next season. The Ducks will have 17 players signed on their roster once the buyout is official.
Cap hit over the life of the buyout:
This past weekend, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun wrote that the Ducks were trying to find a dance partner for a trade involving Perry but would otherwise buy him out if none could be found.
None of this should come as a surprise as Perry has been on a sharp, downward trend for the past few seasons.
Injuries plagued Perry last season, limiting him to 31 games. He had just six goals and 10 points. A year earlier, he played 71 and had 49 points. Perry, a former 50-goal scorer, hasn’t surpassed 20 since the 2015-16 season.
In 988 NHL games, a franchise record, Perry has 372 goals (second most in franchise history) and 776 points (third most in franchise history). Perry was selected 28th overall in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft.
He becomes one of the bigger names now on the free agent list and could prove as a solid veteran add for the right price.
Perry is the third player bought out since the window to do so opened on June 15. Dion Phaneuf and Andrew MacDonald were bought out on June 15 (MacDonald had to clear waivers, so officially June 16 for him).