August is the absolute worst time for hockey news, especially with everyone in a holding pattern because of the CBA negotiations. Due to all that, I've had to get creative.
For August, I'm going to be going through the Ducks' trade archives and thanking teams for trading players and/or draft picks with us because their actions made Anaheim better. (Stick-tap to Jimmy Fallon's 'Thank You Notes' segment for giving me this idea.)
First up: Thank you Dallas for giving us a draft pick that turned into Corey Perry.
Trade Date: June 21, 2003 at the NHL Entry Draft
Anaheim General Manager: Brian Murray
Dallas Acquires: Two second round picks at the 2003 Draft, #36 and #54 overall. Those picks turned into Vojtech Polak and B.J. Crombeen, respectively.
Anaheim Acquires: One first-round pick, #28 overall. The pick was used on Corey Perry.
The 2003 draft class was incredible. Just to name a few of the draft picks available: Marc-Andre Fleury, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Eric Staal, Ryan Kesler, and on and on. Some say that the 2013 draft class might even rival it for the best draft ever. We'll see about that.
Anyway, the Mighty Ducks were coming off of their incredible run in the Stanley Cup final when the 2003 entry draft rolled around. Anaheim already had one first-round pick at #19. Occasionally the Ducks get lucky in the draft. This is one of those instances as this draft pick, in addition to the pick to come later, would set the foundation for another historic scoring duo for Anaheim. Much to the Ducks surprise, and the draft pick himself, a player that was expected to go 5th overall fell to them at 19th. Instead, with the 5th pick the Buffalo Sabres took Thomas Vanek, and with the 19th pick, the Mighty Ducks took Ryan Getzlaf.
I'm not sure if the deal between Dallas and Anaheim came before or after the drafting of Getzlaf. It doesn't really matter, though, the deal was done. Dallas got two second rounders and the Mighty Ducks got the third-to-last first round pick.
In true Anaheim fashion - even back then - the pick was a bit of a surprise. Anaheim selected Corey Perry from the London Knights. Perry was slated to go 35th overall. In a bit of an ironic twist, Perry was downgraded in his ability to perform without a superstar partner. (Now where have I heard that before?) In London, it was some guy named Rick Nash.
I loved this quote from the Sports Illustrated draft preview on Perry:
"... he could find his way into the bottom of the first round. If a team takes a chance on him, it will have a project on its hands."
Pretty sure we got an 'A' on that project.
Following the draft, Perry was returned to Knights for two more seasons. During the 2003-2004 season, he scored 113 points (40G, 73A). In his fourth and final year with the team, he scored 130 points (47G, 83A). To this day, Perry remains London's leading scorer and was honored by the team this past year by having his jersey retired.
After his time in major-junior, it didn't take very long for the Ducks to see the potential they had in Perry. Yet, he wasn't the big superstar they were really focusing on. Perry was the added-bonus to the success achieved by Ryan Getzlaf. They crushed the competition in their brief time with the Portland Pirates. Getzlaf and Perry only spent 17 and 19 games, respectively, in Portland before heading up to be with the big club. After the playing a majority of the 2005-2006 season in Anaheim, they never had to take a crappy AHL bus ride again.
All along, Perry lived in the shadow of Ryan Getzlaf and that never seemed to bother him. He played his same beautiful hands, ugly skating and obnoxious game each night. In the 2010-2011 season, Perry broke out of the Prision of Getzkaban and became the undisputed leader on the ice for the Ducks, scoring 50 goals and pushing the Ducks into fourth in the playoffs. He capped off that stellar season with a some-what surprising win of league MVP.
The list of hardware Perry has amassed over his career is incredible: Memorial Cup, World Juniors Gold Medal, Olympic Gold Medal, Stanley Cup, Rocket Richard Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy. Perry is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2013. Bob Murray has stated that it is a priority to get him locked-up long-term and has been in communication with his agent.
I should give a bonus 'thank you' to Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe and now-retired Mr. Hillary Duff (Mike Comrie) for attempting a deal that required Comrie to write a check before being traded. (It should be noted that Comrie's parents own a furniture conglomerate in Canada. He doesn't even need Duff's Disney money.) Thanks to Comrie's lack of desire to crack his checkbook open, Perry is still a Duck. Phew!