Blackhawks acquire Corey Perry’s rights from Lightning, hope to sign veteran

The Hawks traded a 2024 seventh-round pick in exchange. Perry is currently set to become a UFA on Saturday, but the Hawks are confident they’ll sign the 38-year-old forward best known for his Ducks tenure.

SHARE Blackhawks acquire Corey Perry’s rights from Lightning, hope to sign veteran
Corey Perry with the Lightning.

The Blackhawks acquired Corey Perry from the Lightning, but Perry is best known for his Ducks tenure.

Jeff Roberson/AP file photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — One of Blackhawks fans’ most despised players might soon become a Blackhawk himself.

The Hawks acquired the rights to longtime nemesis Corey Perry from the Lightning for a 2024 seventh-round pick during the second day of the NHL draft Thursday.

Perry, 38, is currently set to become an unrestricted free agent Saturday, but Hawks general manager Kyle Davidson said the two parties have already begun discussing a contract. He sounded confident the Hawks will be able to bring in the 38-year-old veteran forward.

“[He’s] a guy you hate to play against [but] you love to have on your team,” Davidson said. “That’s how we hope it’ll play out.”

Hawks coach Luke Richardson’s relationship with Perry from their time together on the 2020-21 Canadiens, who went to the Stanley Cup Final, played a major role in the decision. Davidson said Richardson watched Perry make a large impact mentoring some of Montreal’s young players at the time.

Even this past season with the Lightning, Perry was only a tertiary offensive contributor — he tallied 25 points in 81 games while averaging 11:34 of ice time per game — but he was a well-liked teammate and actually performed well analytically. He set up plenty of scoring chances with his passing, per All Three Zones, and also generated tons of rebounds — which fits with his reputation as a net-front pest.

Hawks fans know Perry best, however, from his 14-year tenure with the Ducks, where he was a four-time NHL All-Star, one-time 50-goal scorer and constant bully to opponents.

It won’t be easy for him to overcome that terrible reputation around Chicago, but Davidson isn’t worrying much about that while constructing next season’s roster. Perry fits the same type as Monday acquisitions Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno: all three are experienced leaders.

Perry’s expiring contract carried just a $1 million salary-cap hit, so he shouldn’t be expensive to sign, either.

Bailey acquired, bought out

Davidson also weaponized his abundant salary-cap space in another trade Thursday, acquiring forward Josh Bailey from the Islanders and immediately placing him on waivers in order to buy him out.

The Hawks received a 2026 second-round pick for taking Bailey. The buyout will incur a $2.67 million cap hit in 2023-24 and $1.67 million hit in 2024-25, per Capfriendly.

The Islanders wanted to move Bailey — who tallied just 25 points in 64 games last season, will turn 34 in October and would have carried a $5 million cap hit for one more year — to free up space to re-sign other free agents.

The Hawks, meanwhile, used precedents set by other cap-dump trades to determine a reasonable return. Davidson said he “didn’t necessarily see a clear path” to a steady role for Bailey on the Hawks’ roster, though, explaining the buyout.

The league-wide buyout window will close Friday and it doesn’t seem like the Hawks plan to do anything else in it, meaning Nikita Zaitsev — who was acquired in February in a very similar cap-dump trade by the Senators — will presumably remain on next season’s roster.

‘Heavy lifting’ done

The Hawks won’t be busy during the NHL’s free-agency frenzy Saturday. Davidson said after the draft that his “heavy lifting is certainly finished” for the summer.

They are still “looking at a couple options out there,” possibly including adding a right-handed defenseman, but any remaining moves will be small.

The only obvious items left on Davidson’s to-do list involve signing Perry and restricted free agent Philipp Kurashev. Davidson said not to expect any of the Hawks’ other RFAs — Caleb Jones, Anders Bjork, Austin Wagner and AHL forwards Drew Hunter, Maxim Golod and Cameron Hillis — to receive qualifying offers.

The Latest
The National Weather Service has confirmed at least 11 tornadoes touched down Monday night and six on Sunday. Interstate 55 remains closed in both directions near Channahon after high-tension power lines fell onto the highway.
Brady Putnam, 9, reeled in a bunch of fish, including a big Chinook and enjoyed the depths of the whole experience on Lake Michigan.
The victims, listed in fair condition, were shot in the 2900 block of South Dearborn Street in the Dearborn Homes, a CHA development, police said.
Chicago’s severe weather left the Chicago Tribune Co., which prints and delivers the Tribune, Sun-Times and other papers, facing “production issues.”
Co-worker claimed he’d broken up with his ex and she was out of the picture, but now he’s getting back together with her.