Ducks buy out former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry after 14 seasons together

Change seemed inevitable after the Anaheim Ducks endured their worst season in recent memory in 2018-19, and the team confirmed that on Tuesday by announcing the buyout of longtime winger and 2011 Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry.

Coming off a season in which he managed just 10 points in 31 games following a five-month absence due to knee injuries, the 34-year-old Perry would've cost the Ducks $8.625 million in each of the next two years thanks to his eight-year, $69 million extension signed in 2013. In sending him to unrestricted free agency, Anaheim saves that money but also says goodbye to a face of the franchise.

"This is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my 44 years in the NHL," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said in a team statement. "Corey gave everything to this franchise for 14 years, never giving an inch to his competitors. While his scoring touch is undeniable, his will to win became his greatest attribute."

Team owners Henry and Susan Samueli echoed Murray's remarks in the release, saying Perry's career is worthy of Hockey Hall of Fame recognition.

The 28th overall pick by Anaheim in the 2003 NHL Draft, Perry has not scored more than 30 goals in four years, but he was a centerpiece of the Ducks' playoff runs from the 2000s into the 2010s alongside longtime forward and captain Ryan Getzlaf. The franchise record-holder for most games played (988), Perry is also the only player in Ducks history to win the Hart Trophy, claiming the MVP honors for his 50-goal breakout in 2010-11. He ranks second in the team record books with 372 goals and is perhaps most beloved in Anaheim for helping the Ducks win their first Stanley Cup in 2007.

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