With the start of the season upon us, and with this being the 25th anniversary of the Ducks, what better way to start the season than with a list of the top 25 Ducks of all time?
All Anaheim Calling writers (except for Felix due to being a Habs fan) were polled for their list of the top 25 Ducks of all time. Each list was taken and point values assigned to each position on the list to then create the overall Anaheim Calling top 25 list.
Each individual staff members list will be released at the very end.
The rollout of the lists will be as follows:
Monday September 24th: Honorable Mentions and 25th-21st
Tuesday September 25th: 20th-16th
Wednesday September 26th: 15th-11th
Thursday September 27th: 10th-8th
Friday September 28th: 7th-6th
Saturday September 29th: 5th
Sunday September 30th: 4th
Monday October 1st: 3rd
Tuesday October 2nd: 2nd
Wednesday October 3rd: 1st
Here we go!
Number 20: Ryan Kesler
Ryan Kesler was acquired by the Ducks in the 2014 offseason along with a third round pick from the Canucks in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, a first round pick, and a third round pick. It is very hard to separate the player from the 6 year, $41.25 million extension signed in the 2015 offseason, but for the purpose of this list we purely based it on the players and not contracts. Having said that, the hard nosed center instantly made the Ducks a more difficult team to play against. In his first season with the team, the Ducks made it to within a single game of the Cup Final after failing to make it out of the second round in the prior year. Kesler is in no way still the player that he was when the Ducks first acquired him, but he has certainly had an impact on the roster from the first game he suited up with the webbed D on his chest. He has played in 286 games for the Ducks and posted 71 goals and 101 assists for 172 points. This ranks in the top 30 in games played for a skater and top 20 in points.
Number 19: Saku Koivu
Koivu came to the Ducks in the summer of 2009 when he signed as a free agent on a one year contract to be able to play alongside his friend and fellow Finn Teemu Selanne. He was a part of a more transitional period in Ducks history on the tail end of the buzz from winning the 2007 Stanley Cup and retired prior to the team becoming a legitimate contender. He saw the team transition from Randy Carlyle to Bruce Boudreau, and his role changed from being a consistent point producer in a second line role to being dispatched as the shutdown center of a line with Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano (WinKoCo was a fun line that is not remembered that much).
He never complained through these transitions and did what was asked and needed of him. Over his tenure with the Ducks he played in 332 games and put up 64 goals and 127 assists for 191 points. This ranks in the top 20 of games played for a skater and the top 15 in points.
Number 18: Samuel Pahlsson
Samuel Pahlsson was brought to the Ducks through a trade with the Boston Bruins in November of 2000. The Mighty Ducks sent over Andrei Nazarov and Patrick Traverse for Pahlsson. With this return, the Ducks got a center that will go down in Ducks lore for the performance he had in the run to the 2007 Cup Final. The shutdown line of Pahlsson, Moen, and Niedermayer is still talked about to this day by both Ducks fans and non-Ducks fans alike, which cannot be said for a lot of third lines. Pahlsson scored 3 goals and 9 assists in the run to that 2007 Stanley Cup. For this performance alone, Pahlsson belongs on the list of the 25 greatest Ducks of all time. He played in 527 games for the franchise, putting up 51 goals and 90 assists for 141 points.
Number 17: John Gibson
Gibson was drafted by the Ducks in the second round of the 2011 Entry Draft. He made his debut with the team at the young age of 20 years old, but was not able to solidify his spot as the number 1 guy until the 2016-17 season. Once the Ducks took the plunge and traded Frederik Andersen, Gibson became their guy and, boy, did he reward them for taking that risk.
Since that decision, Gibson has played a 53 game season and a 60 game season, and in those seasons posted a .924 sv% and a .926 sv% respectively. Those numbers are massive, but become even more impressive when you look at Goals Saved Above Average. Gibson, in those seasons, posted a 15.36 GSAA and a 25.30 GSAA respectively. This means that an average goaltender would have allowed 15 more goals than Gibson in 16-17 and 25 more goals in 17-18. The sky is the limit for Gibson and I am excited to see what the future holds for him. For the franchise’s 30th anniversary, I could see Gibson skyrocketing up this list.
Number 16: Jonas Hiller
This might be a bit of a controversial ranking with Hiller always being a lightning rod within Ducks fandom and with the way he left, but the Swiss netminder deserves credit. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in May of 2007 and went on to play for the Ducks for 7 seasons, appearing in 326 games which ranks third all time. Over those seasons he would post a .916 sv%, but that number does not fully show how great he was.
At his peak, Hiller was a monster. His first four seasons in the league he had a .927, .919, .918, and .924 sv%. In the 2010-2011 campaign, he was even made a push for the Vezina, which all came falling down once he started to experience vertigo symptoms after the 2011 All Star Game. It is a shame that he had to deal with those issues because I will always look back on his career and think what could have been if he never had to deal with that issue.