The top right winger on the depth chart for the Anaheim Ducks (and the best one in the NHL today according to EA Sports) has been one of the biggest staples behind the core of this team for nearly a decade now. The 2014-15 season was the fifth consecutive year that Perry led the team in goals, frequently providing a finishing touch for the playmaking skills of Captain Ryan Getzlaf. With the consistency he's been showing over the last few years, there's no reason to believe that one half of one of the most dynamic duos in the NHL today will slow down any time soon.
Season in Review
Perry started the season red-hot by contributing a hat trick that served as Anaheim's brightest beacon throughout an otherwise unmemorable 6-4 season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His early bid for the Rocket Richard Trophy took another step forward a few weeks later in the form of another hat trick against the Buffalo Sabres. Two three-goal games in the first month of the season is an exciting feat, but even for a top-level player like Perry, that kind of production could not be maintained. He had very few multi-game goal streaks, only surpassing two games once (February 3rd, 5th and 6th). Fortunately, Perry never suffered a really nasty dry streak either, as he didn't go more than five games between goals once this year.
The playoffs served as the stage for Perry to silence the critics that were attacking his performance in recent postseasons. A goal scorer first and foremost, Perry's contributions in that regard dropped off when the team needed them most, and although a team's playoff elimination doesn't hinge on the play of a single player, the last few seasons left many fans with "what ifs" towards the Ducks' possible outcomes if he ended up stepping up to the plate as efficiently as he's become expected to. In the 2015 playoffs however, Perry did Anaheim one better by answering the call emphatically from the get-go with a four-point Game 1 performance against the Winnipeg Jets. He finished the quarterfinal round with seven points in four games before adding yet his second two-goal, two-assist performance of the playoffs in the first game against the Calgary Flames. The hot stick then cooled down, as Perry added one more goal in every other game (with the exception of a two-game goalless streak against the Chicago Blackhawks), but arguably his most memorable goal in the 2015 playoffs came in the decisive Game 5 against Calgary with this questionable play as the catalyst:
One of the potential worst-case scenarios for Anaheim was thankfully avoided when Perry eventually returned to the ice later that night, and it was he who put a bow on the five-game Pacific semifinal series with, depending how you look at the above hit, an excellent example of karma.
Perry added three more goals (which could have been four during the post-heavy overtime stretch in Game 2) against Chicago in the Western Conference Final, but it wasn't enough to help his team overcome the eventual Cup champions. Even so, his 18 points throughout the Ducks' playoff run is nothing to ignore, and with the possibility of another deep trip into the 2016 postseason, he will likely be called on once again to carry a sizable amount of that goal-scoring workload.
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Corey Perry's impact on this team is absolutely invaluable. For years now, the team has thrived off of his skill set of serving as an elite-level goal scorer coupled with his innate ability to use his antics to successfully get inside the heads of opposing players, such as these:
and more recently:
These shenanigans not only draw the ire of other players, but their fanbases as well. Whether its coincidence or he actually has another gear he hits, Perry seems to play better whenever he hears the vocal disapproval from attendees in an opposing barn. In short, he's a goal scorer who likes to make you mad, and when he knows he's accomplished that objective, he might go ahead and score on you again to rub a little more salt in the wound. He's a major cornerstone in Anaheim who wreaks mischief on the rest of the league in more ways than one, and hopefully that will continue to hold true in the coming years.