The Montreal Canadiens went out this past offseason and spent money on guys like Tyler Toffoli, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Edmundson and Jake Allen. It comes as no surprise that all three of these players have been making a huge impact for the Canadiens and have led to their success so far this season. However, the one player nobody is talking about is 35-year-old Corey Perry, who is on a league minimum deal with the Habs.
Making The Most of his Opportunity
When I think of Corey Perry, the first name that comes into my head is Paul Byron. The speedy winger was one of the best waiver claims for Montreal and cost the team almost no money. The same can be said for Perry. The move to sign Perry was one of those depth moves for Montreal and it was expected he would spend most of the year on the taxi squad and get some playing time if the Canadiens lost another to injury. In this case, it was Joel Armia who would go down with a hand injury, opening the door for Perry’s entrance. In 26 games with Montreal, the veteran, while playing on the bottom six, has recorded seven goals along with six assists. Despite being on the bottom six, the Canadian has also seen time on the power play, where he’s recorded a goal and an assist on a system that’s improved under Alex Burrows.
Now, when the Habs are a fully healthy team, is Perry still an integral part of this team? the answer to that question is yes. He’s shown that he’s won the spot that Paul Byron had and Jake Evans hasn’t shown enough to convince Dominique Ducharme that he’s a regular in the starting formation. Montreal recently acquired Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for picks. When Staal completes his quarantine and starts on Monday, I’d love to see the Habs bench boss place the centreman alongside Perry. This will not only strengthen the Habs lineup, but could also send Perry’s play to another level.
Now that the trade deadline is approaching, Montreal needs to trade Paul Byron and Phillip Danault to resolve any issues they may have in the future. As previously noted, Perry has all but taken Byron’s spot as a starter. Byron is currently making $3.5 million and has recently spent most of his time in the press box. He’s been a solid piece for Montreal, but it’s time to move on and make room for the future.
Phillip Danault has been underperforming this year, and the Habs need to discard his contract, which pays him $3 million, as soon as possible. The forward’s stock is going to drop and that’s already happening at a rapid pace. It’s clear the Canadiens won’t overpay, as his contract expires at the end of the year. For these two players, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Montreal reverts their focus to the market for a left-handed defensemen, which they desperately need.