Corey Perry could leave a lasting impression on his Edmonton Oilers teammates

Photo credit:© Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Sean Panganiban
4 months ago
Raise your hand if you’ve ever cursed Corey Perry’s name when he was a rival of the Edmonton Oilers. Now, raise your other hand if you’ve admitted to yourself that you’re glad he’s now donning the orange and blue in Oil Country.
It’s alright if both hands were raised because the former Hart Trophy winner is the epitome of “you love to hate him, but love him on your team.”
Perry has fit in nicely since he arrived in Edmonton. He’s recorded five points and 23 penalty minutes in 11 games, and his agitating ways and gamesmanship remain — having baited three players, Marco Scandella of the St. Louis Blues, Parker Wotherspoon of the Boston Bruins, and Mackenzie Weegar of the Calgary Flames into dropping their gloves in an attempt to drag his Oilers’ teammates into the fight.
By all accounts, there’s plenty of gas left in the tank for the 38-year-old, and he might not have even hit his stride yet, given his three-month hiatus from playing before joining the Oilers. Time will tell if Perry is in Edmonton’s plans beyond this season, however, if this brief spell is the extent of his time playing with them, one can’t help but consider the lasting impression he will leave on some of his current teammates.
A prior instance of an older NHL star leaving an imprint in Edmonton occurred in 2003-04 when the Oilers signed Adam Oates near the tail end of his career. The centerman tallied 1,440 points in the NHL and was eventually inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012. Yet, while he was past his prime in his playing days in Edmonton, he remained masterful in the faceoff circle, boasting a 57.3% win rate in his career. That said, it was noted that young Oilers at the time, Jarret Stoll and Shawn Horcoff, picked up on Oates’ traits to become good faceoff men throughout their careers. With that, it shows how young hockey players can soak up expertise from those who are experts at their craft.
Regarding Perry, who has netted three goals with the Oilers, all of which were scored from in front of the net, forward Ryan McLeod could draw inspiration from his playbook, specifically the chapter on scoring from the tough areas. The centerman took some heat during the team’s bad start to the season because he wasn’t physical, played too much on the perimeter and shied away from the greasy areas. Still, Perry, a potential future Hall of Famer, could be an excellent mentor to help him in that area.
Comparing Perry to McLeod in terms of speed is like comparing a turtle to a gazelle. However, the former Hart Trophy winner has still been able to produce points, and one reason is his tenacity and anticipation in front of the net. The 38-year-old vet has made a living out of it, and let’s hope that mentality rubs off on McLeod to get to the hard areas regularly. It will not only help his team but also mean an extra one or two million dollars annually for him on future contracts, provided he can finish off the greasy goals.
Dylan Holloway is another Oiler who could benefit from Perry’s influence. The young forward is still finding his footing in the NHL, yet he’s shown subtle traits similar to Perry — he seems to enjoy playing physically, he’s dropped the gloves on a couple of occasions and I feel with a slight nudge, he can develop a similar type of gamesmanship and be a pest-like agitator. However, what will set him apart (if he can pull it off), is that he could do so while flashing that “Hollywood” grin of his, which could frustrate the opposition even further.
Moreover, in the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Feb. 19 with the Oilersnation crew in attendance, the 6-foot-3 Coyotes’ forward Jack McBain gave Holloway a slight shove and it was Perry who came to his teammate’s aid. He threw a decent left hook to McBain’s face, which resulted in offsetting penalties.
It was a subtle gesture of gamesmanship, but I can see it being imprinted in Holloway’s memory, and he could call upon that same feistiness in future key moments. That said, it seems like Perry’s influence might already be taking effect, as Holloway tried to drop the gloves with the Flames’ Blake Coleman late in the third period in the last Battle of Alberta.

Dec 31, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Zach Hyman (18) moves in for a shot against Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (36) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Hyman Could Pattern Himself After Perry In The Future

Perry’s five points with the Oilers so far were a result of his intuition around the net and Zach Hyman plays a very similar style of game to him, as he also makes a living within five feet from the opposition’s crease. The 31-year-old is on pace for a 56-goal season and he’s arguably the best free agent signing in Oilers history. However, when his deal was signed, there were concerns about how he would fare in the final years of his contract. He’ll be 35 years old when it expires, and it’s natural for players to experience a decline in speed as they age.
According to NHL Edge Stats, Hyman’s top speed of 22.76 MPH this season ranks in the 79th percentile in the NHL, while Perry’s 20.55 MPH falls below the 50th percentile. Despite this, in the small sample size of games Perry’s played with Edmonton, he’s shown he can still put up points because of his cleverness and nose for the net. That said, one can’t help but think that once Hyman’s motor starts to slow down, he can dive into his memory vault and recall how Perry once relied on his savvy hockey IQ and hands in tight, despite having slower boots, to remain effective and he can make similar adjustments to his own game.
All in all, if you had asked Oilers’ fans seven years ago if they thought they would one day be cheering for Perry, it would’ve likely been a hard no, followed by a couple of swear words. However, here we are in 2024, and Oilers’ fans are eagerly cheering him on as he’s become a fine piece to the team’s Stanley Cup dreams. Hockey truly has its surprises.

A Little Bit About Me

I’m Sean, and I’ve been covering the Oilers for several seasons, writing and providing analysis on the radio and I’m excited to announce that I’m one of the new editorial writers here at Oilersnation. Some fun facts about me — I was at the game at Rexall Place when Patrik Stefan missed scoring on the empty net back in ’07, and I somehow ended up in the seats two rows ahead and upside down, when Ales Hemsky tied it up moments later.
Also, the pinnacle of my on-ice success was scoring a goal on former NHLer Trevor Kidd in a charity game. I wish I could say it was a snipe, but it was more reminiscent of a Ryan Smyth greaser with a well-timed tip (DM for video evidence).
The last tidbit about me is that winning a major contest in 2020 made it possible for me to have my own authentic hockey card. My friend summarizes it well for the people who have pulled my card, “Those who opened hockey packs were expecting to pull a McDavid card, but unfortunately ended up with a guy whose last name they can’t pronounce.” All jokes aside, I’m excited to be a part of Oilersnation and feel free to follow me on X/Twitter!

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