Posted March 19, 2013 on AP on Fox
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Corey Perry is following Ryan Getzlaf's lead yet again, sticking the Anaheim Ducks for the long term. Perry agreed to an eight-year, $69 million contract extension with the Ducks on Monday night, keeping the former NHL MVP with the club through the 2020-21 NHL season. Perry's new deal is the same length as the extension signed by Getzlaf earlier this month - the longest contracts allowed under the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement. Just 10 days after Anaheim signed Getzlaf to a $66 million extension, Ducks owner Henry Samueli signed another enormous check for Perry, the goal-scoring beneficiary of Getzlaf's playmaking. Perry and Getzlaf came into the NHL together and have played on the same line for nearly every game of their careers, winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 and earning Olympic gold medals for Canada together in 2010. Both forwards were scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer, but both decided Anaheim has the ingredients to be a title contender for years to come. ''It's a huge relief,'' Perry said during the second intermission of Anaheim's game against San Jose. ''There were a lot of factors. How the team is playing right now. With Getzy signed, that's a huge part of it. You look around the room, there's a lot of guys in that dressing room that are going to be here for a long time, and we can definitely contend every year.'' Perry wasn't in uniform for the Ducks on Monday night while he served the third game of a four-game suspension for an illegal hit on Minnesota's Jason Zucker. Perry's new deal should be a major boost to the Ducks, who have the NHL's second-best record during a 20-3-4 start to the season. Perry's impending free agency could have forced Anaheim to consider trading its top goal-scorer to avoid losing him for nothing, but the Ducks now have their two top scorers signed for the foreseeable future. When Getzlaf reached his contract earlier this month, he immediately called Perry to lobby for a quick decision by his teammate. The forwards had discussed their futures repeatedly in recent months - and when Perry closed in on the deal late Sunday night, he called Getzlaf to let him know. ''That was a big factor, knowing I get to play with him for pretty much the rest of our career,'' Perry said. ''That definitely added some pride to my decision to stay here.'' Perry was named league MVP in 2011, when he won the Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal-scorer with his first 50-goal season. The physical forward has 453 points in 555 games with the Ducks. Anaheim general manager Bob Murray said before the season that he was determined to sign both players while keeping enough room under the salary cap to contend. After a few tense weeks, he got it done - and he insists the huge deals won't hamper the Ducks' ability to maneuver. ''When you've got two elite players like this, two winners, and you know they're winners, God forbid they get away, or one gets away,'' Murray said. ''They're here, they're going to be here, and we've got something to build around and move toward our goal to win the Stanley Cup.'' Perry set career highs with 50 goals and 98 points during his MVP season, but he has been a remarkably consistent NHL scorer while playing a physical game with a mean streak. He has scored at least 27 goals in each of the past five seasons, getting at least 60 points in each of the past four. Perry has scored 96 goals since the start of the 2010-11 NHL season, second only to Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos' 126 during that time. Perry is the Ducks' second-leading scorer this season with 24 points in 25 games, including nine goals - even while spending much of the year wondering about his future. ''Obviously, definitely, it's always on your mind,'' he said. ''You can sit and wait and maybe be traded and then go to free agency. All of that weighs on your mind, but I tried to keep it out and just play hockey. It's a weight off your shoulders that you don't have to think about it anymore.'' Perry and Getzlaf were drafted together in the first round in 2003 and broke into the NHL together during the 2005-06 season. Perry, a three-time All-Star, is the third-leading goal-scorer in Ducks franchise history and fourth in scoring, trailing only Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya and Getzlaf. ''This is where I wanted to be,'' Perry said. ''This is where I want to finish my career. I've made a home out here. Being here, it's a great organization. It's definitely a class act for everybody involved.''
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