Maple Leafs Rumors: Toronto Linked To Corey Perry

His banishment from the Chicago Blackhawks is well known by now, but the NHL has officially "cleared" the embattled Corey Perry to return to the league—if a team wants him. 

And according to Carlo Colaiacovo on TSN 1050 this morning, there is mutual interest between Perry and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 19-year veteran was off to a decent start with the Blackhawks this season, with four goals and nine points in 16 games, but was suddenly and abruptly waived and released after a “workplace matter” back in November that the team called “conduct that is unacceptable.”

Exact details of the incident are still largely unknown, but Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli had reported that according to his sources, "an alcohol-fueled incident involving Perry was alleged to have occurred during an event that included corporate partners and team employees in attendance".

In the meantime, whatever it was that actually occured, it would appear that the 38-year-old forward isn't totally toxic, as the Leafs, and presumably other teams, are showing interest in Perry, likely in a 4th-line role. 

As noted by hockey insider Mike Johnson this morning, "If Perry is willing to sign for a league minimum contract, 12 of the 20 teams battling for the playoffs would be interested in him."

Perry was apologetic in a statement shortly after his release:

“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,” Perry said after his release. “I hope to regain the trust and respect of everyone who has believed in me throughout my career.”

He was never officially blocked by the NHL from returning to the league, but he requested his own meeting with Gary Bettman to ensure everything was copacetic, and the Commissioner gave him the thumbs up.

Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports