All would be well in their world if it wasn’t for the lingering uncertainty over Perry’s status and their inability to ascertain what he really wants – to use his pending unrestricted free agent status to leverage a new contract with them, or to move closer to his London, Ont. home. Perry spent most of the lockout back in Canada, and there are two possible destinations there – Toronto and Detroit – that get him back into the same general geographic area.
The desire to go home ultimately determined Zach Parise and Ryan Suter’s final destinations during last year’s free agency period – Parise is from Minnesota and Suter’s wife hails from there – so the Ducks have to give that factor considerable weight in their long-range planning. The problem, of course, is they may not get a clear signal from Perry as to his intentions before the trade deadline. Last year, the Nashville Predators were certain that they’d get the right of first refusal from Suter’s camp, but ultimately didn’t get a chance to make a final bid. So what if that’s the dilemma facing Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray 24 hours before the deadline? It’s unlikely there would be enough time for Perry to sign a contract extension with a new team, so you’d have to think the return the Ducks get for Perry as a rental might not justify giving him up for the home stretch and the playoffs.
Logically, if it gets that far, you’d think the Ducks would just hold on to Perry, see if they can win the Stanley Cup in a year when everything’s falling into place for them, and then take their chances in July. It may well be if the Ducks win it all, that factors positively into Perry’s eventual decision.
Would Parise have stayed in New Jersey had the Devils celebrated with the Stanley Cup last year? Maybe. But for players at that level, where the money is going to be big no matter where they eventually land, the commitment to winning is usually an important consideration.
Even after Brian Burke’s departure as GM, the Leafs still would love to put Perry’s truculence and testosterone in the lineup. But you can’t rule out Detroit either, a team that bid for Suter last summer and came up short. The Red Wings have money to spend and Perry would give them the same qualities that Brendan Shanahan did for years – size, nastiness and scoring off the wing. Detroit needs an infusion of talent everywhere, but a natural goal scorer would really help. Their 1-2 punch at centre, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, remain two of the elite players in the game, but Datsyuk has zero goals in his past 11 games, and Zetterberg one in the past 20. This past week, there was speculation that Datsyuk might return to Russia following the 2013-14 season when his contract expires. Datsyuk is 35, one year younger than Iginla, and also has a July birthday. By the summer of 2014, he will be 37 and if he wants to play a year or two in the Kontinental Hockey League at the end of his career, that might be the time to start.
THIS AND THAT: Even though it involved two separate transactions, the Dallas Stars essentially swapped out Mike Ribiero for Derek Roy last summer, shipping Ribiero to the Washington Capitals and then bringing Roy in from the Buffalo Sabres to essentially fill his role as the team’s No. 2 centre. Ribiero has 29 points in 26 games for the Capitals and is seven points ahead of Alex Ovechkin at the top of the team’s scoring race, while Roy has 15 points in 21 games for the Stars. Both are unrestricted free agents this coming summer and the speculation is that Dallas, a team burned by Brad Richards’s departure two years ago, will likely move Roy at the deadline if negotiations on a contract extension reach an impasse. The theory that Roy will land with the Vancouver Canucks as a rental makes a lot of sense, considering Vancouver’s needs for help down the middle, in Ryan Kesler’s absence …
Ovechkin reached the 700-point career milestone this week in 579 NHL games. Among active players, the only two to get there sooner were Selanne and Jaromir Jagr. Ovechkin started the season with 110 more NHL games played than Sidney Crosby and 70 more points (679 compared to 609). Even in the midst of an exceptional season (47 points in 28 games), in which he’s opened up an eight-point lead over teammate Chris Kunitz in the overall scoring race, Crosby would need 44 points in his final 20 games to get to 700 this year …
The news at the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is off the market shouldn’t affect the day-to-day operations of the defending champion Los Angeles Kings at all, even though the organization’s president, Tim Leiweke, is out. Just after the lockout ended, Leiweke handed out contract extensions to the three key people in the hockey operations department – coach Darryl Sutter, general manager Dean Lombardi and president of business operations Luc Robitaille …Report Typo/Error