Fantasy Hockey Player Profile: Corey Perry

Corey Perry

Corey Perry, the top line right winger for Anaheim, has undoubtedly proven himself to be one of the elite goal scoring threats in the NHL for years now. Since the start of the 2007 season, Perry is third in the league in goals scored (233) and stands a good chance of passing Jarome Iginla for second.

His fantasy hockey success in 2013-2014 has led him to be highly sought in drafts. In some, I’ve seen Perry drafted as high as third, which would put him ahead of guys like John Tavares, Evgeni Malkin, and Alex Ovechkin. In a fantasy writers’ mock draft, he went seventh overall. In most leagues, he won’t fall farther than the sixth pick.

Regression Comin’

For those that haven’t seen The Wire, for shame. But whenever the melody of A-Hunting We Will Go was heard, it was a signal that Omar comin’.

In fantasy hockey, the melody of A-Hunting We Will Go is replaced by shooting percentages, and instead of Omar comin’, it’s regression comin’. It happens with everyone. Established NHLers don’t have out-of-nowhere high shooting percentage seasons and then maintain that level. This should be a warning for those high on Ryan Getzlaf and Joe Pavelski this year, too.

Last year, Perry shot 15.4-percent, which led to 43 goals. For his career, going into last year, Perry shot 12.6-percent, and had averaged 35.7 goals every 82 games. It’s not to say that Perry’s year last year was a complete fluke – he did have his lowest average shot distance for any year since his 50-goal campaign. Following that 50-goal year, his average shot distance increased, his shooting percentage dropped, and despite a very similar shots/game rate, he scored 13 fewer goals. Expecting Perry to crack 40 goals again this year is a bit misguided; he’s more likely a 35 goal scorer.

Goal scoring isn’t the only concern for Perry. From 2008-2011, Corey Perry averaged 0.57 assists per game. That would work out to about 47 assists in an 82-game season. Over the last three years, though, that rate has gone down considerably, to 0.40 assists/game, or 33 assists in an 82-game season. That’s the same rate as defenseman Shea Weber and center David Legwand. That number is skewed by a brutal 2011-2012, so over the last two seasons alone, it was 0.48 assists/game, or 39 assists in an 82-game season.

Finally, from 2010-2013, Perry’s assists/60 minute rate at 5-on-5 was 0.924. Last year, though, that number sky-rocketed to 1.413 assists/60 minutes. That’s an increase of over 50-percent. A huge part of that was Ryan Getzlaf scoring a career-high 26 even-strength goals (he had never cracked 20 before).

All of this tells us that realistic expectations for Corey Perry this year should be 35 goals and 35 assists. That’s a sizeable drop off from the 43 goals and 39 assists he had last year.

The Peripherals


One thing that typically had separated Perry from most other fantasy hockey forwards was the elite scoring in conjunction with a pile of penalty minutes: Perry put up at least 100 PIMs every year from 2007-2012. He also had 72 PIMs in 44 games in the lockout-shortened season. Did anyone notice, though, that Perry only had 65 PIMs last year? He only had one major penalty and zero misconducts. He hadn’t had fewer than two majors since 2006-2007 and hadn’t had zero misconducts since 2008-2009.

It’s not to say that Perry can’t and won’t get back to his old 100 PIM days, but this is a guy who is 29 years old, and he doesn’t have to keep fighting. The Ducks have Patrick Maroon, Matt Beleskey, and Bryan Allen who can perfectly fill that void.

There’s no real way to tell if he’ll rack the PIMs again, but saying he undoubtedly will is reckless.


Perry finished a plus-32 in 2013-2014, tied for seventh in the NHL. That was on the back of a 1028 PDO, 13th among NHL forwards that played at least 80 games. That PDO is generally an indicator of regression, and Perry’s had never been higher than 1025. When factoring in that both Anaheim goalies are fairly unknown commodities, expecting Perry to replicate that plus-32 is just flat wrong.

On-ice shooting percentage, one component of PDO, was a career-high for Perry last year. On-ice save percentage, the other component of PDO, was Perry’s second-highest of his career. In other words, expect a pullback in both departments. That would easily mean 2-3 more goals against because of save percentage, and 4-5 fewer goals for. That would mean, assuming everything else is equal, that Perry drops to at least plus-25, and there’s more room to fall from there depending on a whole host of other factors.

Sum Of All Fears

I’m not talking about a disappointing Ben Affleck movie. Rather, I’m talking about a player who, except for penalty minutes and power play points, could see an across-the-board regression from last year. Mind you, there’s still a pretty high floor for Perry, which means he’s still a top-15 forward even in a season where everything goes wrong. Expecting him to repeat last year, and drafting him as such, though, is a mistake.

That’s why Perry doesn’t belong in the top-five draft picks. There’s almost no chance he returns that value.

*As always, thanks to Hockey Reference, Hockey Analysis, Behind The Net, and ESPN for their resources

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Michael Clifford
Michael Clifford was born and raised in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada and is a graduate of the Unviersity of New Brunswick. He writes about fantasy hockey and baseball for XNSports and He can be reached on Twitter @SlimCliffy for any fantasy hockey questions. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');