That's right, we here at Anaheim Calling are rolling out the red carpet for our end-of-regular-season awards, and we're letting you, the readers, decide the winners. Each day over the course of this week there will be a new poll in which you as a reader can decide the winner for the first annual Callie awards. And yes, in the spirit of the horrible pun, the trophy is in fact shaped like a dog.
So without further ado, let's kick off our show with the award for Best Forward. And the nominees are:
The Captain has been dominant all season, leading the team in scoring and currently sitting second overall in the NHL, behind only Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh. And for a guy who just a couple years ago was getting a lot of flack as a bad leader, the last two seasons have proven Getzlaf to be exactly what the Ducks envisioned when they gave him the hallowed "C" on his jersey. Numerous times throughout this season, when the entire team was lagging miserably and dragging their way through a game, it would be the captain who would pot a timely goal or make a huge play to set up a goal.
Goal? Oh, yeah that's right. Did I mention he's shooting more this year? And with his dazzling hands and ridiculous power that's a lovely sight to see.
But unlike most other scoring forwards in the league, Getzlaf plays a complete game, featuring prominently in all situations, whether even strength, short handed, or on the power play. And he's been good there too. Despite Anaheim being positively bollocks on special teams this season, they've been eye-gouging worse when the captain has been taken off of these units.
Not a bad season for his first of a massive eight-year extension.
On an equally-massive and equally lengthy extension, Corey Perry has also made Bob Murray's investment appear to be a prudent one.
The Ducks perennial leading scorer and one-time Rocket Richard trophy is back at it again this season, once again leading the Anaheim Ducks with 42 goals, and sits second in the league to only Alexander Ovechkin.
And likewise, he too plays all situations, often times featuring on the penalty kill in clutch situations... when he's not actually in the penalty box himself.
In addition, Perry has improved his discipline this season, taking only 65 penalty minutes thus far (down from the 100+ he's had in several years before). Almost gone are the days of the stupid selfish and undisciplined penalty that would ultimately cost the Ducks a foolish goal.
Rather, Perry continues to lead the team by potting goals by the bucketful. And when this guy decides he wants a goal, lately there hasn't been anyone who's been able to stop him (goalposts notwithstanding).
Coming into this season, Andrew Cogliano was thought of as a useful asset, but not a major key in the Anaheim lineup.
Late in the season, he's changed that idea completely.
The one they call Cogs has demonstrated his blistering speed on a nearly per-night basis, giving defensemen and forwards alike fits with their inability to catch him. Combine that with some hard work on his goal scoring abilities and you have a guy that has blown his career high in goals out of the water with 21 on the season thus far, many of them coming in clutch situations.
But perhaps Cogliano's most valuable assets are his ability to kill penalties with his speed, and his longevity. It's hard to imagine a player with his kind of aggressive playing style and on-the-edge play would be so sturdy, but Andrew Cogliano's Ironman streak lives on, having never missed a single game in his entire NHL career.
Cogliano was rewarded for his efforts with a contract extension in mid-season, and I for one am extremely happy with it. For a depth player, there aren't many out there who are better.
Yet another player having a career year is young centerman Nick Bonino, who sits fourth on the team in goals with 20, and third in points with 47.
And he's done so playing literally every role on the team. He's seen minutes playing as a winger on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, but he's also played second-line duties, third-line duties with Winnik and Cogliano, and fourth-line duties, often with the likes of Tim Jackman or Kyle Palmieri, who are about as different a player as could possibly be. And yet he meshes well with all of them.
For a long time, he was the number-one center on the power play, and likewise was one of the Ducks primary penalty killers.
While he may not show up on the scoresheet night after night, Nick Bonino has cemented himself as the ultimate "glue guy" for the Ducks, filling in exactly where needed, and making it sorely obvious when he's not in the lineup. In fact, the Ducks record when he's out of the lineup is damn close to dysmal. It's no coincidence that some of the Ducks biggest slumps are the direct result of his absence.
Bonino is thankfully under contract for a while, as a three-year contract extension kicks in starting next season.
A mere two days before the start of the season, Bob Murray pulled off a small deal that in hindsight has turned into a stroke of genius, sending away a fourth-round pick for Mathieu Perreault.
Perreault wasted no time in endearing himself to the Anaheim Ducks faithful, scoring his first goal in a Ducks uniform in dramatic fashion, giving the Ducks an overtime win in their second game of the year.
Since then, Perreault has gone on to notch 18 goals and 41 points on the year, including a 10 game scoring streak that just recently fell.
Game after game, it starts to look more and more likely that the Ducks have finally found their long-needed second-line center in Perreault, as he has been by far the most consistent player to see time with the slumping Teemu Selanne.
Additionally, Perreault has since seen himself become the first option to center the power play with Bonino centering the second unit.
Not too shabby for a guy who wasn't even in this team's plans for most of training camp.
Perreault is sent to become a Restricted Free Agent at the end of this season, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that an extension might be coming his way soon after the season ends.