Player Name/position: Ryan Getzlaf, Captain
Overall Grade: A-
Contract Status: Contract year, end of 5 year $26.625 million dollar contract; re-signed 8 years, $66 million ($8.25M per season, ends 2020-21).
2013 Stats: 15 goals, 34 assists, 49 points; 44 games played, led team in goals and assists, 3 shorthanded goals, 3 game winning goals, plus-14.
Playoff Stats: 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points; 7 games played, 1 short handed goal, plus-2.
Offense: You see the team leader in goals, assists, time on ice (for forwards) and you must think, "exceeds expectations". This is a tough one. I think it depends on how you normally feel about Getzlaf. Do you take his half-assed skating, lack of shooting and no look passes into the middle of the ice as a level of normalcy? If so, well then, you must have considered this season a real treat and one which exceeded expectations.
The funny thing is, I don't think he really stepped away from any of those crazy habits, but I do think he stepped up in other aspects. No, we actually didn't see an increase in his shooting (although it did seem that way), as his 99 SOG were on pace to match the 185 he had in 2011-12. His physicality, however, was brought to a new level in my opinion. Back was the Getzlaf that won battles along the boards, hit opponents to a tireless pulp (89 hits, third on the team) and most importantly inspired a team towards the best start ever in franchise history. If we're looking for a player who really emphasized the offensive power of the Ducks, I think we look no further than Ducks' scoring leader, Ryan Getzlaf. All of that being said, I think he met all of the offensive expectations I always have for Getzlaf...for the first time in a long time.
Defense: Normally I see "defense" and "Getzlaf" in the same sentence and I’d laugh. But not this season. I know as fans we often scoff at the plus/minus stat, but when a player goes from minus 11 (30th on the team in 2011-12) to plus 14 (third on the team), it says something not just about their offense, but their defense, too. Sure, his faceoff percentage as a whole is sllllllloooooooowly improving (from 47.2% to 48%) which means you need to be busy playing in the opponents end to be at all effective. Getzlaf was on the ice for Anaheim a lot this season. Third on the team in total time on ice (first amongst forwards) and in just 44 games he played over 65:00 minutes of short handed time on ice - a huge leap from the 85:50 he played in 82 games last season. Not just responsible for scoring this season, Getzlaf was just as effective in defending.I'm glad to see we have a high paid forward who is a responsible player on both ends of the ice. Perfect? Hardly. Meeting expectations? Finally.
Highlight of the Season: I thoroughly enjoyed watching Getzlaf strip that damn Damien Brunner of the puck in the post season to score short-handed, but my favorite short-handed goal of the season has to be when he made that Jonathan Quick look a fool.
Expectations for Next Year: Ryan Getzlaf. Where to start with this guy. You love him, you hate him, I love him, I hate him, I cheer for him, I yell at him…on and on. I’m just happy to say that this season, I cheered for him a hell of a lot more than I yelled at him. It was an extraordinary change of pace.
I gave Getzlaf an A- because, in my opinion, this season as a whole was one of his best. Sure, there were plenty of ups and an unfortunate down that saw him miss some games and ultimately never fully recover to peak form, but he was finally the beast that I always expect him to be. I genuinely do not believe we witnessed Getzlaf back at 100% after that knee/ankle incident late in the season. I also genuinely believe that had he been at 100% (or closer to it) in the post season, the Ducks might still be playing hockey right now.
The Ducks finally got to see the captain they’d hoped for. They got the player they needed to lead both in the lockerroom and on the ice. He was a powerhouse who improved his numbers, picked up the slack for struggling linemates and played on both ends of the ice for a change. And, shockingly, he shot the puck - and it paid off! Of course, I still feel Getzlaf has more to give, a lot more. I know, I have "Brian Burke" expectations for this guy, but why shouldn’t I? We KNOW he’s capable of more (the A "minus" allows that room for growth)…and now we’re going to get 8 more years to see it blossom…right?