The New York Rangers struggled with a lack of emotional and intense drive during the latter part of the regular season and playoffs. Despite finishing the regular season with over 100 points, the team’s lack of killer instinct prevented them from going far in the playoffs. This is a locker room issue that will likely be addressed by Chris Drury in the offseason, and a name that makes sense for the Rangers is Corey Perry.
During their run to the Eastern Conference Final last season, the Rangers displayed a level of resilience, emotion, intensity, and engagement that helped them overcome numerous challenges. They were able to come back from deficits against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes and take the eventual Eastern Conference champs, Tampa Bay Lightning to six games. The team’s energetic locker room also aided in this aspect of their game.
This season the Rangers lacked the same level of emotional and intense drive. While there were moments where the team showed some energy, such as Jacob Trouba‘s helmet throw, overall, they were pretty flat from an emotional and intensity point of view.
Ryan Reaves, a key locker room figure who was traded to Minnesota, was sorely missed. Reaves not only served as a buffer for Gerard Gallant but also kept an atmosphere that aided in the emotional intensity and hard-working attitude that defined the Rangers the previous season. His trade was necessary, but it left a hole in the locker room.
The Rangers’ embarrassing first-round loss to the Devils highlighted their lack of cohesion and killer instinct. The Devils flaunted their speed and aggressiveness, and the Rangers did not put up much resistance outside of games one and two. Players like Timo Meier and Ondrej Palat made life uncomfortable for Igor Shesterkin, while Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes made it difficult for Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox up and down the ice.
Despite efforts from players like Trouba, Barclay Goodrow, and Ryan Lindgren to energize the team, they couldn’t find the second gear they had in the previous season. The lack of emotional and intense drive can stem from several issues, including a lack of structure and a room that’s too low-key and complacent in their ways. While it’s good to stay calm and not panic, there needs to be something or someone who can bring teammates up. That someone could be Corey Perry.
Many Ranger fans (myself included) have expressed disdain for a player like Perry and the many dirty and cheap things he’s done on the ice. That said, Perry can bring that something to the Rangers that was sorely lacking last season. Perry has built an impressive reputation for his aggressive play style and his ability to put the puck in the net.
The first 14 years of his career were spent with the Anaheim Ducks, where he established himself as one of the league’s premier goal scorers. Last few seasons, Perry played for the Dallas Stars and the Montreal Canadiens, where he helped lead his team to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals. Despite his best efforts, however, Perry and his team ultimately fell short to the Tampa Bay Lightning in both attempts. He joined the Lightning the following season, only to lose in the Stanley Cup Final for a third straight year.
Perry’s aggressive playing style has earned him both admiration and disdain from fans and players alike. Known for his ability to get under his opponents’ skin, Perry has been nicknamed “the Worm” by some, while others affectionately refer to him as “Scorey Perry.” Overall, Perry’s career has been marked by his tenacity and dedication to the sport of hockey.
Perry’s hockey career has been nothing short of impressive. With his aggressive playing style, he has become a favorite among fans and a force to be reckoned with on the ice, which began with a Stanley Cup championship win in 2007.
He continued to rack up accolades, being selected as an NHL All-Star four times in 2008, 2011, 2012, and 2016, and winning the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2011. Perry also made the First All-Star team in 2011 and 2014 and received the prestigious Hart Memorial Trophy in 2011.
It’s not just Perry’s regular season accomplishments that make him stand out. He is a noted playoff performer, having scored 53 goals and 71 assists, totaling 124 points in 196 playoff games and has appeared in the postseason in 15 of his 18 years in the league.
He is also seen as a leader and strong influence in the locker room, as evidenced by the praise of his teammate, Zach Bogosian of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bogosian expressed his dislike for playing against Perry, particularly the physical confrontations that occur near the goal crease, but quickly developed an affinity for him once they became teammates. With Perry’s impressive track record and leadership abilities, it’s no surprise that he continues to be a valuable player in the NHL.
“He’s a great teammate, he’s a great leader, he’s a great player, he’s obviously had a hell of a career up to this point, and we’re just super lucky to have him.” said Bogosian in an Athletic article profiling Perry.
However in recent years, Perry has taken on a different role. He has shifted down the lineup and taken on more physical and mental challenges, adapting to the role of a featured agitator. Although he had previously been a scorer and agitator, Perry has embraced this new role, requiring significant adjustment, but has made it work, and continues to be an effective player in the NHL.
For teams like the New York Rangers, who are currently lacking in intensity and gritty players up front, Perry could be an excellent addition. While he’s not going to score 50 goals in a season anymore or burn past defenders with a sick deke move, he can still get into the dirty areas and push back against the other team when the time comes. His experience and leadership could also provide a much-needed spark to a Rangers locker room that could use it.
For a team and organization that wants to win and can win now, a guy like Corey Perry can certainly lend credibility to that goal. Hockey isn’t always pretty and that’s why Corey Perry makes sense for the New York Rangers.