ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 06: (L-R) Ryan Getzlaf #15, Corey Perry #10, Saku Koivu #11 and Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate Perry's third goal of the game and 50th of the year in the second period against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center on April 6, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Corey Perry's hat trick gave him the even 50 on the season, with two games left to play. The Ducks forward has been white hot at a time of the season when half of the Western Conference was hoping to catch fire to make it to the playoffs.
Daniel, for you, where does Corey Perry's goal scoring performance this season rank in Ducks history?
This might surprise a few people, but I'm going to say that it's 5th behind Selanne's Richard year, Selanne and Kariya's 96-97 campaign, Kariya's 50 in 95-96, and Stumpy's stretch run in 2003. That might be a little too much history for some of the newer fans, but let me put some of it into perspective. That Richard trophy that Selanne won is still the only major piece of regular season hardware a Duck has ever won. I know Kariya had a Lady Byng or two and Selanne got a Masterton, but that's not like bringing home an Art Ross or a Norris. It was the first piece of serious hardware that a Duck player had ever won, and I don't think that Perry's performance has quite that effect, even if he wins the Hart.
The 96-97 year was just magic. It was the first full season Selanne and Kariya ever got to play together. Selanne had 107 points and Kariya had 99. Granted, Kariya only played 69 games, but the offense was unbelievable. It carried the Ducks to a first round playoff victory over Phoenix. It was Selanne's first of two 50 goal seasons as a Duck and was the preview to the 98-99 campaign that saw the two of them score over 100 points a piece.
Kariya's first 50 goal campaign established him as a superstar in the NHL and helped put Anaheim on the hockey map. All of his success and no playoffs was probably the reason the Ducks were willing to trade for Selanne. After that, Steve Thomas, a.k.a Stumpy, showed up at the trade deadline in 2003 and went on a tear that got the Ducks into the playoffs, and continued to be clutch all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Which brings us to Perry. No doubt it's been a phenomenal year, but I think I don't know if it will have the impact that those streaks did on the franchise. Those other goal scoring campaigns shaped separate eras of Ducks history, while Perry's feels more like the natural continuation of his progress. Maybe it's true that you simply can't understand the impact of something historical while it's happening. Right now, I see Perry's season as amazing, but not necessarily franchise-shaping the way those other campaigns were.
I think Selanne's 48 goals in 2006-07 is the major omission on your list. Granted, 25 of them were power play goals, but 10 were gamewinners and he was shooting at an 18.7% clip (at the age of 36!!). That carried him into a clutch postseason and the Cup, which was pretty franchise-shaping. That would be my number one.
I would tie Perry for 2nd with Paul Kariya's 95-96 campaign, which rather resembles, statistically, Perry's performance this year. Kariya had 50 goals, 58 assists, 9 gamewinners and 3 shorthanded tallies. Perry currently has 50 goals, 47 assists, 11 gamewinners and 4 shorthanded tallies. Granted, Kariya had almost 350 shots to Perry's 275, but Kariya was also 21 on a team where the offense ran principally through him, while Perry is 25 on a team and a line that doesn't mind sharing the load.
I suppose you could also compare it to Selanne's 52 goal season in 97-98 without Kariya, because Perry has missed Getzlaf at times-- sometimes when the Captain was there --but still found a way to stay the course. He fed a slumping Ryan and even threw some passes at a Getzlaf returning from injury. And now, he's caught absolute Promethean fire down the stretch.
And it's the timing that makes this performance so unique for me. Corey Perry is exerting his will on these scoreboards at a time when everyone is watching and the pressure is bearing down on the team. The team needed him to be clutch, and he responded by being unstoppable. It's like he's been on a Starman power-up for the past two months. I swear I can hear the music every time he touches the puck.