Hats off, GM Murray, for locking up Perry
March, 18, 2013
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com
And just like that, the biggest name that could have been moved before the April 3 deadline has been scratched off the trade market list.
Corey Perry is staying put in Anaheim thanks to a $69 million, eight-year contract extension announced during Monday night’s Sharks-Ducks game.
Score one for the underdog, GM Bob Murray.
Most team executives and agents around the NHL didn’t think he could sign both his potential unrestricted free agent stars, Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Maybe one, many said, but likely not both.
Of course, it cost the Ducks a healthy sum to pull it off. As in $8.625 million on average per season for Perry, and earlier this month, Getzlaf got reeled in for $8.25 million a year, also over eight years. That’s $135 million for two players from 2013-14 through 2020-21.
Here’s the crazy part: Perry likely would have gotten more on the open market, as in at least $9 million a year, if he truly was exposed to all 30 teams in the league come July 5.
The Toronto Maple Leafs would have been all over the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, with the likes of Detroit and Philadelphia probably not far behind.
Two months ago, I would have told you there was little chance Perry would sign before the trade deadline. That was the feeling most people around the league had, as well. But there's no question Anaheim’s surprising season, which has seen the Ducks challenge for first overall, had a profound impact on Perry and his decision to skip free agency.
Last summer, Perry was also presented with a massive offer from the Ducks, but sources say he didn’t want to commit yet. After a couple of disappointing seasons for the Ducks, it was certainly within Perry’s rights to be a little patient before deciding whether Anaheim remained committed to winning.
Smart offseason additions by Murray -- Sheldon Souray, Daniel Winnik and Bryan Allen, plus the emergence of Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth -- helped the Ducks fill some holes.
Getzlaf’s re-emergence as one of the NHL’s premier No. 1 centers is certainly no small factor, either. The Ducks' captain signed his extension March 8, putting all the spotlight and pressure squarely on his linemate, Perry.
And you knew Murray and the Ducks' front office would take one last run at Perry contractwise before deciding whether to put him on the trade market.
Make no mistake: Murray would have looked at what Perry’s value would have been on the trade market if he hadn't signed. It doesn’t mean Murray would have dealt the star, but he would have inquired.
After losing Justin Schultz for nothing last summer to free agency, the Ducks were not too thrilled at the thought of losing another major asset and getting nothing in return come July. You can’t keep losing key assets that create gaping holes in your organization.
Murray, in fact, had chatted with Nashville GM David Poile about his experience with the Ryan Suter saga a year ago, which ended with the Predators ultimately deciding to keep the star blueliner and pending UFA because they held out hope they could still sign him after the season. You can imagine what Poile would have had to say to Murray in retrospect.
Perry understood everything at play. He decided if the deal was right, he’d stay on.
Perry met with his agents, Mark Guy and Pat Morris of Newport Sports, on Wednesday in Dallas, had a long heart-to-heart and went over all his options. Perry went home to discuss it one final time with his family and phoned his agents Friday to tell them he had decided that if they could negotiate a deal, he'd stay on. That led to long negotiations all weekend between Newport and the Ducks.
Against the popular betting, the Ducks got it done.
Perry and Getzlaf, both signed, sealed and delivered.
The Ducks now have about $53 million committed to 16 players for next season. They’re about $11 million under the $64.3 million salary cap for '13-14 as they look to fill out next season's roster. Perry's deal, as part of the new CBA, has a no-movement clause that kicked in upon the signing of the extension.
People immediately hit Twitter after the Perry signing and suggested that Bobby Ryan was a goner this summer. But I do not believe that the Ducks feel they have to move Ryan's deal (two more years at $5.1 million per). The Ducks have expiring contracts on their roster and Ryan's deal easily fits into their plans. That's not to say if they get an offer they can't refuse they wouldn't listen, but a source close to the situation told ESPN.com Tuesday that the Ducks aren't going into the offseason with the idea of moving Ryan.
You also have to see what happens with veteran Finnish wingers Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, both UFAs after the season, And, certainly in the case of the Finnish Flash, perhaps this is finally it. He won’t decide that until the summer.
For now, it’s all about a run at the Stanley Cup for the Anaheim Ducks, who have removed the gigantic distractions of the Getzlaf/Perry contract situations with two-plus weeks to spare before the trade deadline.
What a story indeed.