First it was Jari Kurri in 2001, then Adam Oates in 2012, and Scott Niedermayer in 2013. Now the Anaheim Ducks can claim five Hall of Famers in their 21 season history as Chris Pronger and Sergei Fedorov were elected to the 2015 class of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2007 Stanley Cup winning defenseman and two season center enter with defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Phil Housley, center Bill Hay, US Olympic defender Angela Ruggiero and Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos.
Chris Pronger: Missing Piece To A Title (2006-09)
The final game in franchise history while known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim saw Pronger in opposing colors, celebrating a trip to the Stanley Cup Final with the Edmonton Oilers after putting up five of his 21 eventual playoff points in the five game Western Conference Final victory. Yet in the offseason opportunity opened for Anaheim as the 1999-2000 Hart and Norris trophy winner requested a trade, and the Ducks were a willing suitor parting with Joffrey Lupul, Ladislav Smid, Anaheim's 2007 first round pick, a conditional first round pick, and a 2008 second round pick.
Pronger's impact was immediate. Anaheim vaulted into the discussion of legitimate Stanley Cup contender status thanks in large part to a defense corps including the new acquisition, Niedermayer, Francois Beauchemin, and Sean O'Donnell. With Pronger and Niedermayer each averaging over 27 minutes of ice time the Ducks roared to the best start in franchise history, and went on to win the Pacific Division for the first time. He finished fifth on the team in scoring during the regular season, and during the playoffs tied with Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne for second in points while leading the squad in assists.
After Anaheim claimed the Stanley Cup in 2007 Pronger entered the next season as seventh captain in team history, wearing the 'C' as Niedermayer debated retirement well in to the early season. Again he produced near the top of the team in scoring, finishing fourth and leading all defensemen in the regular season, and tying Ryan Getzlaf for the playoff point scoring lead in the six game first round defeat to Dallas. In his final season with the Ducks he finished the regular season sixth in scoring on the team, and third during the playoffs. Over his final two years in Anaheim Pronger lead the team in average time on ice for both the regular season and playoffs.
The end of Pronger's tenure in Orange County came after the 2009 playoffs that saw the Ducks eliminate the Presidents Trophy winning San Jose Sharks, when he was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers in late June for a returning Lupul, Luca Sbisa, two first round draft picks and a conditional third round pick. Though Pronger's career regular season appearances for the Ducks currently slot him 15th all time in franchise history amongst defenseman, he is currently tied with Cam Fowler for fourth amongst defensemen in points while sitting fifth in both goals and assists. For franchise playoff history he's the all time leading scoring amongst defensemen, tops in assists and tied for second in goals, while also tied for second amongst defenders in penalty minutes.
Chris Pronger will forever be known as the final major piece to the first ever Stanley Cup champion from the state of California. He's the third Ducks player to ever touch the Stanley Cup, and was the one to pass the trophy to the face of the franchise Selanne. The blend of size, skill, and snarl made him the kind of defenseman that was equal parts beloved by fans in St. Louis, Anaheim, and Philadelphia, and despised everywhere else. It's a appropriate that the team that proudly holds the banner of 'No one likes us, We don't care' is the one where the defenseman who played that way to a tee won his title.
Sergei Fedorov: Superstar SoCal Cameo (2003-05)
For the first thirteen years of his career Sergei Fedorov was the Russian dynamo wearing the winged wheel of the dreaded red menace, racking up an individual trophy cabinet of the Hart and Pearson (now Lindsay) trophies in 1993-94, as well as a pair of Selke trophies in 93-94 and 95-96. After being a better than point-per-game player for much of the 90's, in the latter part of the decade he adapted his playing style to be more two-way friendly and in turn helped bring a trio of titles to the Motor City. After terrorizing international tournaments with CSKA Moscow in the late 80's he cemented his spot in NHL history as one of the league's greatest Soviet/Russian-born players in red and white, fittingly part of Detroit's iconic 'Russian Five'.
With the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim looking to build on the momentum of the shocking Western Conference Championship and coming within a game of claiming the chalice in 2003, the equally stunning decision of then-captain Paul Kariya to bolt to the Colorado Avalanche immediately thereafter for a laughably below market value deal in free agency left a chasm in the club. Enter Fedorov, who after going through contract issues of his own with the Red Wings elected to sign with the team that swept his former side away in the first round the previous season. Still, the losses of Kariya as well as veterans like Oates and Steve Thomas, as well as other roster turnover made catching that lightning in a bottle again the next season impossible.
Still, to Fedorov's credit he lead the Mighty Ducks in scoring for the one full season he was with the club in putting up 30-plus goals for the fourth consecutive season, and doing so for the tenth and final time in his career. He finished one behind Vinny Prospal's team lead in assists, tied for the team lead in power play goals and had the most game winners. Clearly this was not the blisteringly dynamic player that dominated the league in the 90's, but one could argue his 03-04 season in the eggplant and jade at 34 years old was his last hurrah as an upper echelon player. It's the final time he cracked the 60 point plateau, scored double-digit even strength goals, appeared in 80 or more games, and lead a team in major offensive categories.
Five games in to the 05-06 season he was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets with a fifth round pick for Beauchemin as well as forward Tyler Wright. The trade opened things up for Getzlaf to ascend into a regular role as a rookie, in addition to acquiring the player who would become the Ducks career goal scoring leader among defensemen and a vital part of another surprising playoff run that season as well as the following year's championship. Perhaps looking back on his tenure it's unfair to term Fedorov an 'awkward Duck'- after all he chose to come to Anaheim, and gave the Mighty Ducks what ended up being his final year as a 'great' NHL player in a marvelous career.