In celebration of the Anaheim Ducks’ 25th anniversary, Anaheim Calling is ranking the 25 top Ducks of all time.
No. 7-6: Friday, Sept. 28
No. 5: Saturday, Sept. 29
No. 4: Sunday, Sept. 30
No. 3: Monday, Oct. 1
No. 2: Tuesday, Oct. 2
No. 1: Wednesday, Oct. 1
Here we go!
Number 7: Chris Pronger
Chris Pronger may have only played 220 games for the Ducks (7 less than the player he was eventually traded for, Luca Sbisa), but his influence upon this franchise was immeasurable.
After Pronger’s Oilers shut down the Ducks in the 2005-2006 Finals, Brian Burke, then GM of the Ducks, went out and got him for his team.
What an impact he made.
Wearing the ‘A’ immediately upon his arrival, Pronger’s leadership and grit paid instantaneous dividends, as the Ducks steam rolled themselves all the way to the Stanley Cup finals and eventual sweet, sexy victory.
His presence on the blue line allowed Coach Randy Carlyle (no he’s not still here. He left and came back) to either pair him with the other HHOF player on the books or to separate them and form 2 incredibly hard to beat pairs.
It should be noted that Pronger beat players in a different way to Scott Niedermayer. As Scotty beat them with smooth skating and deft passing, Pronger simply beat them. Into a pulp. His long strides got to the loose pucks, and his imposing physique ground the opposition into the ice with each punishing hit.
So strong was Pronger’s influence on the Ducks that season that the present management group is still looking for a Pronger of their very own. Even going so far as to say they were actively looking for such a player. Each year, fans see the new Pronger-lite being brought into the team in an attempt to replicate the magic he once brought to the club.
Following that magical first season, Pronger went on to captain the Ducks in the absence of Scott Niedermayer, prior to him deciding on his future. Pronger’s 150 points over his 3 seasons of play rank him as the Ducks 19th highest scorer of all time, and his 15 power play goals rank him 15th. Of the defensemen the Ducks have iced over the years, only Niedermayer has scored at a more prolific rate than Pronger’s 0.682 point per game pace. In fact, only 10 other players at all have scored more prolifically.
In addition to Pronger’s offensive accumen, he was also an incredibly punishing player, and a big part of the big bad Duck identity (an identity that still haunts them today). His 285 penalty minutes rank him 21st on the Ducks overall, and a minor penalty more than current Duck, Ryan Kesler.
For those younger fans who may not remember Pronger, nor understand why he was such a great duck, I invite you to look at current Duck, Josh Manson. Then make him bigger, meaner, and twice as skilled. Chris Pronger was just that good.
Number 6: Corey Perry
Corey Perry. The Worm. An absolute superstar of the game.
Obviously you’ve heard the rumour that he’s won every trophy available to a North American hockey player. But what has he done while with the Ducks?
Oh.... you mean he’s won every trophy a North American hockey player can win?
Well he probably hasn’t played a lot then, and just got lucky to get into those big games! AHHHH! So you’re trying to tell me that in only 9 more games, he’ll be the co-games leader for the franchise?
Right, well maybe he just doesn't score enough goals? hmmm.... 2nd of all time on the Ducks, with 366 gorgeous tallies. A full 66 more than the 3rd place player.
Perhaps he’s just really selfish then? Oh... Oh I see. So he’s 3rd all time for assists too?
(Writers Note: Dammit Jake! Why is he only ranked 6th on this list? Go back to ranking school and learn how to do it right!)
Getting back on track, despite being thrown under the bus in recent seasons, Corey Perry is Anaheim royalty. The first player since Teemu Selanne (1998-1999) to win the Maurice Richard Trophy (2010-2011), and a Stanley Cup winner on the same team.
In fact, over the past 10 seasons (2007-2008 to 2017-2018) Corey Perry ‘s 336 goals rank him 4th in the league over that span. He is also the 14th highest point producer, with 697 to his name. His 0.85 point per game pace ranks him 33rd in the league over that span (accounting for players who have played at least 1 season’s worth of games). This places him above veteran players such as Phil Kessel and Jarome Iginla, as well as young guns like Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko.
All that winning the Ducks have done the past 5 or 6 years? Perry also has 58 game-winning-goals, good enough for 6th most overall. He’s certainly contributed to that.
It should be noted that a lot of this damage was done at even strength. However, Perry’s 93 power play goals rank him 10th overall. His total power play points rank 22nd overall. Hell, even short handed, Perry has scored enough goals to rank in the top 100 players over the past 10 years. And I may ask, when was the last time you remember seeing him on the PK?
Corey Perry is easily in the top echelon of players the Ducks have ever had wear their uniform. Not only has Perry been a great Duck, he’s been great compared to all of the NHL players over the past decade. He truly deserves to be in the conversation for one of the best players of his generation.
He’s also kind of a jerk
Corey Perry is very likely a first ballot Hockey Hall of Fame player. With news that our sweet prince will be out for the next 5 months (or so) following knee surgery, it becomes apparent that the Ducks and their fans should have appreciated his greatness a little more than they did.