TAMPA — Corey Perry has had a front-row seat for the past two Stanley Cup presentation ceremonies. The next time the Cup is awarded to the NHL champion, he wants to be part of the receiving line.
The Lightning signed Perry Thursday to a two-year deal with an average annual value of $1 million. The veteran power forward, 36, wanted to join a “winning culture” and believes he can help Tampa Bay win a third straight title.
“At the end of the day, where I’m at in my career, I want to win,” Perry said Friday morning. “I want to be a part of that, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Perry said he considered multiple teams, including Montreal, where he played this past season, after becoming a free agent. But when Tampa Bay came along, he knew it could be an exciting opportunity for him and his family. The Lightning were able to offer him a two-year contract, a key factor in his decision.
Tampa Bay is looking forward to having a player such as Perry, who has scored 386 goals in his 16-season career, on its side.
“We are excited to add Corey, who brings with him a wealth of big-game experience to the Lightning,” general manager Julie BriseBois said Thursday in a statement. “He will be an excellent addition to the lineup, and we are thrilled to add another high-character player to our group who can contribute to the organization’s overall depth.”
While playing with Dallas in the 2020 Cup final and Montreal in the ‘21 championship series, Perry saw firsthand the talent on Tampa Bay’s roster.
“There’s a lot of great players on that team,” he said. “You have stars and guys that are going to be stars, so I’m looking forward to getting to know everybody, getting on the ice with everybody and be a part of it and see where we can go with this.”
Perry played in Anaheim for 14 seasons, hoisting the Cup in 2007 at age 22. It took him 13 years to get back to the final with Dallas before he returned again the following season with the Canadiens.
“Sometimes when you win it so young, you take it for granted,” he said. “You never know where this can go, and you use that as motivation. ... You think it’s going to happen every single season, but it took me 14 years to get back, so you have to come into the season, you have to do everything you can possible to put yourself in the right position.”
The opportunity to join the Lightning also reunites Perry with former Ducks teammate Pat Maroon. The pair played together for five seasons before Maroon was traded to Edmonton in 2015-16.
“It’s exciting, for sure,” Perry said, smiling. “He’s a very close friend of mine, and getting to lace up again with him is going to be exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
• • •
The Tampa Bay Times will commemorate the Lightning’s second consecutive Stanley Cup title with a new hardcover coffee table book, Striking Twice. Pre-order now.
Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.