Anaheim calling to the hockey world...
Last year, the Ducks tried some players in some different roles, some the idea of the coaching staff (Lupul on the PK), some the idea of the player (Getzlaf quarterbacking the power play from the point). Those experiments never really stuck.
This year's experiment with Bobby Ryan at center seems to have failed, but another experiment, Corey Perry as a shorthanded scoring threat, appears successful. Carlyle intimated at the beginning of the season thst they would be using more players on the PK, and Perry had volunteered for that assignment last season according to Ducks broadcaster Brian Hayward. The top line forward has played well shorthanded, even blocking a key shot tonight in an ugly hold-on-to-the-lead win for Anaheim. Daniel, what do you think of Corey Perry as a penalty killer?
I'm a huge fan of Corey Perry on the PK. I think Anaheim fans take Perry for granted. It might not be saying much, but he's the most responsible player on the RPG line. I catch him going to the boards and making clean passes more often than Getzlaf and Ryan. He's a much more linear player. He doesn't attempt those ridiculous drop or no look passes in traffic. Moreover, Perry has a level of toughness that his linemates don't often match. His willingness to go to the net in the offensive zone has translated into a willingness to block shots on the PK. Plus, his ability to stick handle in tight situations and fight through checks while keeping the puck on his tape make him a good candidate for a penalty killing unit that frequently has trouble clearing the zone.
Perry continued to produce despite the fact that Getzlaf missed almost 20 games last season. Perry can turn the puck up ice and he has decent speed. If he stays on the PK for the rest of the season, I could see him getting multiple shorthanded points. Perry is the lunch pail player for the RPG line. As such, it makes the most sense to have him work the PK. He takes more punishment, and does more work than fans give him credit for, and setting himself apart on the PK will be a great way for him to step out of the shadow of his linemates and be celebrated for his contributions.
I definitely agree that Perry is a scoring threat, but most of that is his shot. He's not the traditional speedy penalty killer that you see in a player like Patrick Marleau. And I don't think that's really the penalty killing style the Ducks are using this year. The threat of shorthanded scoring is more of a bluff. This a shotblocking unit, and Corey excels at that.
That's not to say that Perry is a shotblocking forward, but the toolkit for being a good front of the net player isn't all that different from being a good shotblocker. Perry has shown that he can read shots very well, even standing much much closer to them.
Perry's also shown that while he doesn't have the foot speed and the stick speed of Ducks top sixers like Joffrey Lupul-- who I thought worked very well, if not successfully, on the kill last year --he is willing to move his feet and get his stick into lanes. I can see why he volunteered for this job; he's pretty good at it, and it plays to his strengths, lunch pail grit and all.