In celebration of the Anaheim Ducks’ 25th anniversary, Anaheim Calling is ranking the top 25 Ducks of all time.
No. 2: Tuesday, Oct. 2
No. 1: Wednesday, Oct. 1
Number 2: Ryan Getzlaf
El Capitan, Getzy, Hulkzlaf, the bald eagle, or whatever other wacky nickname you have for him, ended up being 2nd on this list, and rightfully so. Ryan Getzlaf came to the Ducks through the 2003 entry draft, where the Ducks selected him with the 19th overall pick.
The Ducks had a set plan going into the 05-06 season to have Getzlaf along with his twin, Corey Perry, spend the entire season in the AHL. But that plan did not last long.
Getzlaf made the team out of camp and proceeded to play in 16 games, where he had 7 points. He was then sent to Portland, their AHL affiliate at the time, but Getzlaf very quickly forced them to call him back up. In the brief stint with Portland, he scored 8 goals and 25 assists for 33 points in 17 games.
Once Getzlaf was called back up, there was no turning back and he would grow into one of the best players in franchise history, if not one of the most impactful Centers in all of hockey.
Getzlaf has a unique combination of size, strength, skill, and vision. At his peak, he could beat you any way he wanted. He could go through you, pass the puck around you leading his teammate in on goal, or every once in a while pull off a nifty little deke. He was an absolute beast that could not be knocked off the puck in the offensive zone, and just when you think you would have him locked down, he would find a way to feed the puck through three guys to someone on the far side, leading to a goal.
With this skill set, he made his mark on the 06-07 team both in the regular season and the playoffs. He ended the regular season 6th on the team in points, but led the team in points on the run to the Cup and was second on the team in goals. That season was his coming out party, not just for Ducks fans, but for the entire league.
The reason for putting him at 2nd, though, is not just what he did in his early years. It is the continued excellence that he has maintained throughout his career. He has admitted to having a rough patch here or there, like when having his first kid and adjusting to being a father, or when he became captain, but even with these rough patches, his resume is impressive.
He is coming up on the 1000 games plateau, having played in 917 games going into the 2018-2019 season. He has scored 247 goals and added an impressive 628 assists for 875 points. These totals currently leave him at 4th, 1st, and 2nd respectively in Ducks history, and there is still plenty of time for him to add to his total.
On top of all of these accolades, he became the 8th captain in franchise history in the 2010-2011 season, a season which was seen as the changing of the guard. Getzlaf, along with his long time linemate Corey Perry, went from being the kids on a team run by the likes of Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, and Teemu Selanne, to being the guys on the forefront.
Since that change, the Ducks have experience the most sustained success in franchise history, with Getzlaf being a main driver. During his watch, the team has only missed the playoffs once and went on to win 5 straight division titles. Prior to him gaining the captaincy, the Ducks had only won the division once, and as a franchise only made the playoffs 7 times.
Unfortunately, a prevailing criticism of Getzlaf has been that he does not show up during the playoffs. This is factually incorrect.
Getzlaf has scored 37 goals and added 83 assists for 120 points in 125 playoff games. These are the games that are supposed to be more difficult to score in, and as of today is at nearly a point per game pace in his career.
Getzlaf is going to end his career with impressive stats: either the best or second-best player in the history of the franchise, either first or second in games played, first in assists, possibly first in points, and as the longest tenured captain in Ducks history. When all is said and done, he will be remembered as the greatest captain the franchise has ever had.
I will leave you with two of my personal favorite Getzlaf moments: