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Can Corey Perry Regain his Scoring Touch?

Can Corey Perry Regain his Scoring Touch? Bridget Samuels/via Flickr

Forward coming off disappointing 2016-17 season

NHL

The 2016-17 season was a rather successful season for the Anaheim Ducks. They won their fifth straight division title and reached the conference final for the second time in three seasons. However, one key player for the Ducks did not have such a successful season, as we are accustomed to him having.

To say 2016-17 was a struggle for forward Corey Perry is a bit of understatement. The 32-year-old only managed to score 19 goals and 53 points in 82 games last season. It was his least productive season since the 2006-07 campaign, barring the 2012-13 lockout-shortened season.

There have been rumors that Perry played hurt last season, thus hurting his production. While we don’t know that for sure, one thing we do know is that there are Ducks fans wondering: can Corey Perry regain his scoring touch?

I believe he can and I’ll give my thoughts on why he can.

SIX-TIME 30-GOAL SCORER

Perry has proven in his 12-year NHL career that he can score. He’s tallied 349 career goals in 886 career games. That total has him sixth among active players in goals scored since 2005-06. On six different occasions he’s topped the 30-goal mark.

He scored at least 33 goals in the three seasons prior to 2016-17. So, it’s not like he’s been in a long stretch of not scoring more than 20 goals.

It’s also not like Perry wasn’t getting chances to score in 2016-17. He had 215 shots on goal last season, the same amount he had in 2015-16 when he scored 34 goals.

Even the best of players have seasons where things just don’t go their way. Perry has been known to be a streaky scorer during his career. Unfortunately, for him, that streak was mostly bad last season. However, he did show he can still get on a streak when he netted eight goals in Anaheim’s last 16 games.

CHEMISTRY WITH GETZLAF

Perry has the track record that he can score, and score in bunches, in this league. He also has the perfect center to do it with.

Ever since being drafted by the Ducks in 2003 draft, Perry and center Ryan Getzlaf have basically been joined at the hip. They’ve been on the same line for most of their NHL careers. And their production has been a key in helping Anaheim be successful.

The duo have combined for 1,531 points in 1,747 career games. Their chemistry is what earned them the eight-year contracts they signed in the summer of 2013. It’s also what helped Perry score 50 goals and win the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2011.

While some may speculate injury led to his decline in production, others may say being separated from his “twin” had more to do with it. When you look at the numbers, it’s hard to argue that.

From 2007-08 to 2015-16, in a full 82-game season, Perry scored no fewer than 27 goals. His centerman during that time? Getzlaf. In that time frame is where Perry notched his six 30-goal campaigns.
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REUNION WITH GETZLAF NEEDED?

At one point in their career, Perry and Getzlaf were part of what may have been the most dominant line in the NHL when Bobby Ryan was still in Anaheim. The trio gave opposing defenses headaches, especially when they got a cycle game going in the offensive zone, from 2008-09 to 2012-13.

After the Ducks traded Ryan to Ottawa in 2013, fans felt that Ryan was never really adequately replaced. That feeling lingered until last season when the team acquired winger Patrick Eaves prior to the trade deadline.

Eaves established quick chemistry with Getzlaf, scoring 11 goals in just 20 games with Anaheim.

When Eaves was acquired, many Ducks fans, including myself, thought he should be added to a line with Perry and Getzlaf. It didn’t happen because coach Randy Carlyle wanted to have balanced scoring throughout the roster.

However, that may need to happen this season, at least at the beginning.

Center Ryan Kesler had hip surgery this summer and is not expected to be ready for the start of the season. It is more than likely that Rickard Rakell will take Kesler’s place as second-line center while he is out. Last season, Rakell scored a career-high 33 goals while alternating time on the first and third line.

If he can continue that growth and goal scoring he displayed last season, that helps give the Ducks balanced scoring. That, in turn, could lead to Perry being reunited with Getzlaf.

While it is important to have balanced scoring, you also need a group of go-to guys to go to when a team needs a big goal. Perry and Getzlaf have been those guys in the past. Putting them together again, along with Eaves, could give Anaheim a dominant top line yet again.

BIG CONTRACT, BIG EXPECTATIONS

Ultimately, Perry NEEDS to regain his scoring touch. The Ducks are a more dangerous team when No. 10 is scoring goals. And scoring goals is what got him that eight-year contract.

Not only did it get him that eight-year deal, it also made him the highest paid player on the team. When you have a deal like that, people expect for you to produce.

The expectations put on these types of players can sometimes be a bit over-the-top, but when they show you what they can do with their talent, it’s hard not to expect it every season. That’s what made 2016-17 so disappointing for Perry.

However, 2017-18 is a new campaign and a fresh slate. If he puts up 25-35 goals this upcoming season, nobody will remember 2016-17.

It’s rare for a player of Perry’s goal scoring caliber and ability to have back-to-back sub-par scoring campaigns. I don’t expect it to happen again in 2017-18. Don’t be surprised if he flirts with the 30-goal mark this upcoming season.

I know I speak for most, if not all, Ducks fans when I say I hope it happens.

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