Why One Lighting Player Deserves More Sympathy Than the Rest
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After coming up just short of hockey immortality, everyone on the Tampa Bay Lightning roster found it a bit more difficult to wake up yesterday morning.

The back-to-back champions were looking to become just the sixth team in NHL history to win a three-peat but fell short to a Colorado Avalanche team who went 16-4 throughout the playoffs.

While dismissing the loss of a championship courtesy of winning it the previous two years will fall on deaf ears for the players, it certainly helps ease the pain compared to the players who weren’t a part of that run.

But if there is anyone, in particular, to feel sorry for, it is veteran winger Corey Perry.

The former Anaheim first-rounder has put together a potential Hall of Fame career. In 17 seasons, Perry has accrued 372 goals and 404 assists in 988 career games. He’s a two-time All Star, won the Hart Memorial and Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophies in 2010, and most importantly was apart of the 2006 Ducks Championship run.

As a 21-year old winning the Stanley Cup in his second season, it seemed as though that the Peterborough, Ontario native would not be done hoisting the trophy.

Flash forward 16-yeas, and Perry has yet to re-write his name on The Cup. But he sure has been close.

Not only did he come oh-so close this past year, but the past three seasons Perry has been apart of the team to finish runner-up.

In 2019, after a 14-year career with the Ducks, Perry signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Dallas Stars, who were defeated by the Lighting.

The next year, Perry signs for just above the veteran minimum ($750,000) to join the Montreal Canadiens, who would also be on the losing side of the Lightning’s back-to-back run.

Thus led to 2021, where if you can’t beat them, join em. Perry signed a two-year, $2 million contract ahead of the season to join Tampa’s attempt at history, which came up just short.

While the lure of winning it all is the primary motivation for the players, the NHL also offers financial compensation for playing in the postseason. The “playoff bonus pool” rewards teams based off how deep into the playoffs they go, which is evenly distributed for every player.

For example, last year’s Lightning team received $5.8 million for winning it all, which was distributed evenly to every player, which came out to roughly $250,000 a player (via “Shayne” at Played on Ice).

While in comparison to the contracts received by these players, it might not seem too noticeable. However, for Corey Perry making $750,000 for the season, receiving an additional third of his income for just winning three more games might have went a long way.

Especially when we consider the difference between champion and runner up, which drops from $5.8 million to $3.4. With that same breakdown, Perry missed out on over $100,000.

If you add in 2019’s missed pot, Perry would be making just under $150,000 in his postseason bonus. Thus, with the third consecutive second-place finish, Perry would be over $300,000 richer if a couple breaks went the other way.

Thankfully for Perry, he proved to be a strong fit with the Lightning, playing every game of the regular season for the first time since 2016 with a +/- of 9.

Although there is still plenty to figure out ahead of the 2022-23 season, there is no reason to doubt the Lightning’s ability to be a postseason contender. What is to be determined is how much of that postseason bonus the team will earn.

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