The Detroit Red Wings should steer clear of signing Corey Perry

After being cleared to sign as a free agent, the Detroit Red Wings should shy away from bringing in veteran forward Corey Perry.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

There is a joke to be told here. Hide your... never mind. As interesting as it could be, and we all know how much Detroit Red Wings general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman enjoys a reclamation project, the organization needs to stay away from veteran winger Corey Perry. The short end of the stick here is that not every classic car, or in this case, veteran player, needs to be restored by Detroit anymore. The Red Wings are finally trending upward, and the days of taking a flier on an aging player that comes with baggage is unnecessary.

I know where one particular part of Detroit's fanbase is going. Then why did Yzerman sign Patrick Kane? Well, his on-ice play since joining the Detroit Red Wings should answer that itself. Even at 35, Kane is a dynamic, top-line playmaking, highly productive asset. Kane gives the Red Wings options ahead of the trade deadline. If Tyler Bertuzzi can garner a first-round pick in return, it should be a first-rounder plus for Kane if Yzerman elects to go that route. I think the Red Wings should be looking to extend him past this season, but that is something I'd like to address another time.

By now, you know that veteran winger Corey Perry's one-year $4 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks had been terminated earlier this season. In late November, the Blackhawks investigated an incident involving Perry and found the forward engaged in “conduct that is unacceptable and in violation of both the terms of his standard player's" contract and the Blackhawks' internal policies intended to promote professional and safe work environments."

Detroit Red Wings need to stay far away from Corey Perry.

The exact details of said investigation remain unknown but caused Perry to release the following statement shortly after his release (courtesy of Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic). “I have started working with experts in the mental health and substance abuse fields to discuss my struggles with alcohol, and I will take whatever steps necessary to ensure this never happens again,” said Perry. “I hope to regain the trust and respect of everyone who has believed in me throughout my career.”

As described in the article linked above (The Athletic), Johnston and LeBrun mention that Perry, 38, recently met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to speak about his recovery and struggles with alcohol. Perry is now a free agent and eligible to sign anywhere. Perry needs to sign with a club before March 8th to be able to contribute in the postseason.

Although Perry still proved to be productive at 38 years old, having recorded four goals and nine points through 16 games this season while averaging under 15 minutes a night, the Detroit Red Wings should steer clear of his services. Perry is a fourth-line next-level winger and brings his patented pest-like attitude to any lineup he's in; plus, he still plays with a bit of sandpaper. Perry can also contribute to the power play with his talented net-front presence, vision, and tipping ability. He's scored 12 power-play goals and recorded 20 total power-play points combined over the past two seasons. He can still help someone, but it shouldn't be the Detroit Red Wings.

There is the whole character issue, plus being a villain for years in these parts. Does his on-ice play cast a shadow on his off-ice issues? At this point, no. If the Detroit Red Wings appeared to be one depth player away from making a run at the Stanley Cup, and I mean the real one (not this new fad that is currently taking place; I am team Yeti anyway), then perhaps I'd have a different opinion. Who would come out of the lineup if Perry were to be added? Christian Fischer, I suppose. Fischer is a winger who can play center, bringing some versatility to the lineup. He's also utilized as a penalty-killing option. Maybe Perry takes Klim Kostin's spot? Ok, sure. It's a wash to me, but Kostin is the 13th forward and has 24-year-old legs compared to 38. Yzerman recently dealt with Jakub Vrana and his personal problems. I don't see him rushing out to sign someone recently terminated, even if rehabilitated; I genuinely hope he is and risk an adverse reaction or influence in the locker room.