Corey Perry returns to the OHL after a solid rookie tournament

By Kevin Forbes

Going into the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the conventional wisdom was that the draft class
was deep and skilled, with top talent going deep into the second round. So when the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim traded two second round selections (36th
overall and 54th overall) for the chance to select a talented but inconsistent
player who had issues with his skating, lacked strength and was knocked down a lot, there were some eyebrows raised. Now more then a year later, Corey
Perry
is one of the top junior players in Canada and one of Anaheim’s top prospects.

After being drafted 28th overall, Perry put up a strong season that saw him finish second in OHL scoring, play for Team OHL in the RE/MAX Challenge and join the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks on their playoff run to finish the season.
The only down point was Perry’s inability to crack Canada’s World Junior squad, which is a goal he says he wants to achieve this year.

At the 2004 Pacific Division Rookie Tournament, the 19-year-old was on a line with fellow 2003 draftee Ryan Getzlaf and former college standout Curtis
Glencross
. The line led the way for the Ducks prospects to win the tournament, with Perry tallying two goals and four points in four games.

Cincinnati coach Brad Shaw who also coached the Ducks prospects was impressed by the work of the trio. “These guys took a huge step in their
careers and their development with how they played,” he told said, adding that he thought all three were “definite prospects of the NHL level.” When talking to
Hockey’s Future, both Getzlaf and Glencross had nothing but good things to say about their linemate. “Perry is a gritty kind of guy that goes to net. He isn’t the biggest guy out there but he is a lot
stronger than many think. He is gritty you know, he likes fight and go
to the net,” said Getzlaf. “We just have a blast out
there. We are always smiling and having a great time, so it is pretty easy for us to play together,” added Glencross.

Perry recognized how important it was to play well at the tournament.

“You have to come into every practice, every game or any
situation in this environment and impress the coaches, the scouting staff or the general managers,” he said. “You have to come in here with the right mindset, be on time,
work hard and do everything they ask of you and do it to the best of your
ability.”

He has his sights set on challenging for an NHL job next season, and counts his short AHL debut last year as a step in the right
direction towards reaching that goal. “It was a good experience seeing what the
next level is all about. You have to take it one level at a time and take it as it goes.”

Perry describes himself as a player who can play strong down low, an important attribute for Anaheim now that Vaclav Prospal has returned to Tampa Bay. This skill and his excellent vision and playmaking abilities
could one day make Perry a fixture on Anaheim’s power play. Although he is somewhat slight in stature (6’2 but just 195 pounds), he never gives up and can score a garbage goal just as easily as a highlight reel goal.

A contender to lead the OHL in scoring this season, Perry also looks to lead his London Knights team to the Memorial Cup. The Knights have started
strong so far, unbeaten in their first two games of play, with Perry registered a goal and two assists. Perry also participated in the Team Canada summer
camp for the 2005 World Juniors. He is a strong bet to make the team, although there could be more competition for jobs with players like Brent Burns, Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron all available due to the NHL
lockout.

Perry sees strength and skating as the two main attributes that he needs to work on over the next year. It should be noted that between his work with Anaheim’s training staff, London’s training staff and his own training,
he has improved tremendously in both of these aspects of his game since he was drafted. With such dedication to improvement, Corey Perry could be skating at the Pond soon.

Jeff Dahlia and Josh Brewster contributed to this article. Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.