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25 Greatest Ducks of All-Time: Number 3

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Paul Kariya

Right Winger Paul Kariya #9 of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Number 3: Paul Kariya

Number 3 on this list but number 1 in our hearts, Paul Kariya was and still is the true embodiment of everything pure and good about this franchise.

The first ever draft selection by the franchise - taken 4th overall in the 1993 NHL entry draft after winning the Hobey Baker award in his Freshman year at the University of Maine, Kariya was a phenom that had multiple Scholarship offers as well as Major Junior teams clamoring for his services.

He played one more year for Maine before turning pro and beginning his storied journey with the Ducks where he put up 39 points in a lockout-shortened 47 games as a rookie; he narrowly missed out on the Calder Trophy after leading rookie scoring but was ultimately overtaken and beaten out by Peter Forsberg. He would follow up that effort with a whopping 108 points in a full 82 game season the following year.

By the start of his third year pro Kariya was awarded the captaincy and became the clubs 3rd in team history after Randy Ladouceur retired at the conclusion of the 95-96 season.

He and Selanne would go on to create hockey magic while becoming known world and league wide as the “Dynamic Duo”. Inspiring players all over the globe with their finesse, speed and seemingly physic chemistry.

During his tenure he would win back-to-back Lady Byng trophies as the leagues most gentlemanly player, an Olympic Gold and Silver medal, a World Championship Gold and Silver medal as well as attend multiple All Star games.

Sadly he also endured multiple concussions and was unlucky enough to play the game at a time where head-shots were not viewed in the same way that they are today.

After suffering four concussions in three years Kariya became an outspoken advocate for tougher punishment for head-shot offenders. The ripple effect caused by the shortening of his career by head-injuries has paved the way to where the NHL is today; it could potentially have been the underlying beginnings of the Ducks transforming into a “goon” team in the early to mid 2000s; as management loaded up on enforcers in an attempt to protect him from a disciplinary panel that was failing to.

He would endure several years of mediocre support on a team that was gradually making its way up from the basement of the NHL before it finally broke through in 2003 - storming their way to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the New Jersey Devils in 7 games. That would be the last we saw of Kariya in a Ducks uniform.

That is until October 21st 2018.