For the first time since Corey Perry broke into the NHL as a feisty 20-year-old in 2005, the Anaheim Ducks will be without their goal-scoring right wing for a significant amount of time.
Perry is likely to be out for five months after significantly injuring his right knee during warmups for a preseason game.
The 2011 NHL Most Valuable Player had surgery Wednesday, Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. Recovery time is typically at least 20 weeks, guaranteeing Perry will miss the bulk of a regular season for the first time in his career.
The 33-year-old forward tore his meniscus and injured a knee ligament during warmups at Honda Center on Monday night for a preseason game against Arizona.
“It’s hard to replace 50-point people,” coach Randy Carlyle said after Wednesday’s 7-4 win over Los Angeles. “You’re looking for that offense. We’re going to have to do it by committee. We have some offensive players that are close but the NHL is a difficult league to transition to.”
Perry scored 50 goals during his MVP season, and he has scored at least 25 goals in eight of his 13 seasons in a career spent entirely in Anaheim. He has spent most of his 957 NHL games on a line with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, his inextricable partner ever since they were drafted nine picks apart in the first round in 2003.
Although his production declined to 17 goals and 32 assists last year, Perry’s goal-scoring acumen and agitating style of play still make him an unavoidable factor in any opponent’s game plan.
He faced a challenge this season to integrate his hard-hitting, opportunistic style into Murray’s desire for the Ducks to play a speed-based game this winter, but that transition is on hold for at least a few months.
Perry also has been durable: He hasn’t missed more than 15 games in any season spent entirely in the NHL, and he has played in at least 80 games seven times. He missed 11 games with a lower-body injury last season, but played in every game down the stretch.
Early season injuries were a major problem last season for the Ducks, whose run of five consecutive Pacific Division titles ended.
Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves, Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen all missed early games, and Anaheim never caught up to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The Ducks finished second and were swept by the Sharks in the first round of the postseason.
Kesler and Eaves could be out alongside Perry when the Ducks begin their new season at San Jose next Wednesday. Anaheim’s home opener is Oct. 8 against Detroit.
“We have to be able to move on. We have a lot of young guys who are making an impact on the preseason,” defenseman Cam Fowler said.
Perry is a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada. He also won the 2007 Stanley Cup title with the Ducks.
Perry is making $9 million this season in base salary and signing bonus. He is under contract for two more seasons through 2021.
Source: The Associated Press