NHL Rumors: Penguins, Bruins and Teams That Should Pursue Corey Perry

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NHL Rumors: Penguins, Bruins and Teams That Should Pursue Corey Perry
Harry How/Getty Images

A great start to the 2013 NHL season might make the Anaheim Ducks' decision to re-sign or trade upcoming UFAs Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry even tougher than anticipated.

Trading a superstar in the midst of a playoff race would not be a popular move among a fanbase that has watched its team advance past the first round of the playoffs just once since winning the Stanley Cup in the 2006-07 season, but what if the Ducks cannot re-sign both players?

Per Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

The belief is to keep Perry and Getzlaf, Murray is going to have to ante up with big, front-loaded contracts for both. You know, the ones that were a “hill to die on” during the CBA negotiations before the league decided it couldn’t afford to lose the season.

Many don’t believe—of the two—Getzlaf is going anywhere because he’s settled into Anaheim. There was talk before the lockout the two sides were close to a long-term agreement in the $60-million range. That hasn’t materialized yet.

Will the Ducks trade Perry before the deadline?

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It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Getzlaf re-signed and Perry traded. A No. 1 center as talented as Getzlaf at both ends of the ice is more valuable to any franchise than a goal-scoring winger.

Let's look at four teams that should make a strong push to acquire Perry before the April 3 trade deadline.

 

Boston Bruins

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

After the Tim Thomas trade, the Bruins now have about $8.5 million in salary cap space, and general manager Peter Chiarelli could also free up $4 million more if the team decides to put injured center Marc Savard on long-term injury reserve (LTIR).

The Bruins have enough cap space to make a push for Perry, and he would be the ideal addition to the team's roster.

Boston has arguably the most center depth of any team in the league, but Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand and Nathan Horton are the only top-tier offensive players on the wing in head coach Claude Julien's lineup.

The Bruins' power play is ranked 28th in the league and the team also ranks 15th in goals scored. Despite their impressive depth at forward, the Bruins have not made any major additions to a roster that scored just 15 goals through seven games in last year's first round playoff series loss to the Washington Capitals.

Perry is the kind of player that could carry the Bruins offense in a playoff series when the team's top forwards are struggling to be productive offensively.

Not only would Perry give Boston the elite goal scorer that they don't have at the moment, he would also provide the team with another power forward for the top-six forward group, and a player who could easily fit into the team's physical style of play.

Perry and Bruins forward Milan Lucic are the only players in the last two seasons with 60-plus points and 100 or more PIM.

The challenge for Chiarelli would be acquiring Perry without giving up an important part of the team's current core. Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton is likely an untouchable after his strong start to the season and Chiarelli's unwillingness to move him at last year's deadline.

If Chiarelli is able to trade for Perry without giving up too many quality assets, he must pull the trigger on the deal, because it would be the final piece to the team's championship puzzle.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It's no secret that the Pittsburgh Penguins could use another talented winger to skate with Sidney Crosby, who has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) through 13 games despite not having an elite winger next to him.

Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz and James Neal are the only Penguins wingers with more than four points scored this season, so general manager Ray Shero clearly needs to make finding a top-six winger before the deadline a top priority.

Perry would provide the Penguins with the scoring depth that the team needs on the wing, and he would also give the roster a power forward that can dominate against Eastern Conference rivals that play a physical style of hockey such as the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers and Bruins.

Shero needs to add some toughness to his forward group before the trade deadline, regardless if that addition is a star like Perry or a third-line player.

Pittsburgh has a number of good defensive prospects to offer Anaheim in return for Perry, which would help the Ducks quite a bit since 2012 first-round pick Hampus Lindholm is the only elite blue-line prospect in the team's system.

Adding Perry to its lineup would make Pittsburgh the favorites in the Eastern Conference.

 

Ottawa Senators

Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

The Ottawa Senators used to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL, but since star center Jason Spezza left the lineup with an injury, the team has not been able to score goals consistently.

The Senators rank 20th in goals scored and without Spezza, head coach Paul MacLean doesn't have an elite forward to depend on when the majority of the team is struggling offensively.

Ottawa has scored just 1.4 goals per game in February and has been shutout twice. As the chart below shows, several of the team's best forwards have underperformed this month.

Player GP G A PTS +/-
Kyle Turris 5 0 3 3 0
Daniel Alfredsson 5 2 0 2 0
Milan Michalek 5 0 1 1 -1
Mika Zibanejad 5 0 1 1 1

Since it's unclear if Spezza will return this season after recovering from back surgery, general manager Bryan Murray would be wise to make a move for a top-six forward such as Perry.

The Senators are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but the gap separating them in the standings from the New York Islanders in 14th place is only five points.

This is a playoff caliber team that could make some noise in the playoffs with a top goal scorer like Perry in its lineup, even if Spezza doesn't return.

Murray's team has about $17 million in cap space and with veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar's contract ($5.5 million cap hit) expiring after this season, re-signing Perry in the summer would certainly be an option for Ottawa.

With a deep prospect pool of talented players at every position, the Senators have the pieces to make a major move at the deadline and strengthen their roster for a deep playoff run.

 

Vancouver Canucks

Harry How/Getty Images

Trading Perry to a Western Conference rival isn't the perfect scenario for the Ducks, but if the decision is made to move him before the deadline, Anaheim needs to make the best deal possible, regardless of who it's with.

Perry would give the Canucks a huge scoring boost on the wing, and he also has the ability to add some size and strength to a Vancouver lineup that lacks the ideal amount of "sandpaper" needed for a Stanley Cup run. A top-line of the Sedin twins and Perry would easily be the best offensive trio in the NHL.

Vancouver was unable to score enough goals against a quality goaltender in Jonathan Quick during last year's playoffs when Daniel Sedin was out of the lineup recovering from a concussion. If another important forward goes down before the playoffs this season (or Ryan Kesler struggles when he comes back from injury or doesn't return at all), the Canucks would have no chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Acquiring Perry would give head coach Alain Vigneault the scoring depth and power-play talent he needs for a lengthy playoff run. His team currently ranks 11th in goals scored and 19th in power-play percentage.

The Canucks don't have a lot of salary cap space, so sending back a good-sized contract to the Ducks would probably need to happen. Veteran winger Alexandre Burrows, who has turned into a reliable goal scorer over the last few years, could be one player that interests the Ducks in a potential Perry deal. Burrows begins his new four-year, $18 million extension next season.

Canucks general manager Mike Gillis has a few good NHL players and several top-tier forward prospects to offer the Ducks for Perry, including two-way center Brendan Gaunce (the team's first round pick in 2012).

Perry would be the perfect addition for the Canucks because he solves two of the team's biggest problems, which are a lack of toughness in the top-six and scoring depth.

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter.

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