When Gary Gygax set out on creating the iconic table-top RPG Dungeons & Dragons with Dave Arneson, he created what is now called The Alignment System to help players contextualize the moral and ethical impulses or proclivities of their characters. While the original construct had only three options (Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic), the Alignment System ultimately settled on a two-axis system that allowed players to choose a combination of the original three in conjunction with a second threesome (Good, Neutral, Evil).
Ultimately this two-axis system, along with numerous other character choices such as class and race, allows a player to help establish their character’s individual outlook on life and the world around them. Each and every character slots into one of the nine designations: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, and Chaotic Evil.
Now normally, as mentioned above, where a character lands on that grid is decided while they’re being created and is not assigned retroactively. However, as I am neither their parents, nor their God, I am incapable of telling you which alignment was assigned to them at creation. I can however, go full armchair psychologist and assign them alignments based on what I’ve seen.
Before we get to the individual alignments, let’s take a quick look at what the four ends of each axis refer to. Grab your munchies, Scooby Gang.
- Good: “Good” implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of others. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
- Evil: “Evil” implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty for some evil deity or master.
- Lawful: “Law” implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, tendency to judge, and a lack of adaptability.
- Chaotic: “Chaos” implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility.
And with that all sorted, away we go.
[One Small Note: This article was written before the trade deadline, but was held until after in anticipation of what could be a very busy day. As you will notice a couple of players listed below are no longer with the team. Please know I will be requesting a refund from my psychic and your understanding and forgiveness in this matter is greatly appreciated.- E93]
Lawful Good: Jakob Silfverberg
Examples: Captain America, Hermione Granger, Yoda, Spider-Man, Mr. Spock
Honor. Trustworthiness. Reliability. Personal sacrifices to help others. Jakob Silfverberg is all of these things, and more. While Ryan Kesler seemed to relish in the dark side of the force associated with his shutdown role, Silf has always seemed to skate with a sense of ease and purpose. A key piece to the Bobby Ryan trade, the Swedish sweetheart was able to ingrain himself in both the locker room and the fanbase quite effortlessly. Furthermore, by playing a traditional 200-foot game, and doing so while only exceeding 30 penalty minutes once, he became a trusted figure for the four different coaches he’s played under while in Southern California.
Never failing to hit at least 10 goals in his career, and putting up 20 goals in four of his five seasons with Anaheim, Silfverberg has provided a skilled and steady presence for Anaheim capable of playing on either wing and throughout the lineup. Whether it’s been excelling in his own end with Kesler, acting as a set of training wheels for young centermen like Sam Steel, or proving to be the coach’s secret weapon in shootouts, Silfverberg has emerged as more than just a good winger. And his snipe is so good he even takes out goaltenders’ water bottles! Through the great times, and now the tough times, he has always had a positive effect on both the game and his teammates. I guess you could say, he’s been Lawful-ly Good.
Lawful Neutral: Adam Henrique
Examples: The Punisher, Nick Fury, Judge Dredd, Boba Fett, James Bond
“‘Lawful Neutral’ is the best alignment you can be, because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot”. I mean, do I even need to go on? Since coming over from the New Jersey Devils in a mid-season trade, Henrique has been nothing if not reliable. Despite a brief flirtation with wing this season, Uncle Rico has proven to be a perfectly capable middle-6 center. (Editor’s Note: He has said to AC staff that he is a quiet man, and not at all wild, even refusing to dance for the camera when implored. Although he would wink, so there’s that.)
Henrique has shown that he excels within a defined role and with a consistent set of linemates. While his play this year has led to his leading the team in goals, his best run of play as a Duck probably came when he was linked up with Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase — and the three of them were able to create one of the most effective third lines Anaheim has had in a while. Add that to the fact that he excels best in a situation where he can be relied upon to play meaningful minutes, but not be expected to be the main contributor to a contending team, and you arrive at a player perfectly suited to the Lawful Neutral alignment.
Lawful Evil: Bob Murray
Examples: Emperor Palpatine, Tywin Lannister, Scar, Magneto, Dolores Umbridge, Sauron
Remember up there when I said the downside of lawfulness can be a reactionary adherence to tradition and a lack of adaptability? Well… *gestures wildly at everything.* Look, I remain a Bob Murray defender in at least some aspects. I do think he’s a good drafter and I do think there is something to be said for the steadiness that has become the defining characteristic of his tenure as Anaheim’s General Manager. Unfortunately, it has also become the defining characteristic in ways that are less than flattering.
Questionable extensions to players ranging from straight up bad (Kevin Bieksa) to perfectly fine (Henrique) to really good but not quite great (Cam Fowler). Rehiring a completely outdated head coach from years gone by in an attempt to bring back some much-needed accountability (Randy Carlyle). For all the good his steady presence at the helm has done the Ducks — and he’s done a lot to be sure — it’s hard not to look back at some of the summers and deadlines past and wonder What Could Have Been with a more daring, even reckless, front office. And given that some view his level of risk aversion to be intrinsically tied to his job security, it doesn’t take much to see GMBM as the Ducks’ embodiment of Lawful Evil. (For those gamerDucks who speak trope, this is a massive trove of Regret Treasure: What Could Have Been)
Neutral Good: Ryan Getzlaf
Examples: Lady Galadriel, Harry Potter, Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds, Silver Surfer, Wonder Woman, Daredevil, Jason Bourne, Magnus Burnsides
Ryan Getzlaf has spent his entire career in Anaheim and in that time he has undergone multiple transitions in role, perception, and attitude. From hotshot young center, to bona fide superstar, to the veteran mentor he is now, Getzlaf has been at the forefront of whatever Anaheim was trying to do for over a decade. Arguably the best forward on that Stanley Cup team, and unarguably the greatest player in franchise history, Getzlaf has been the driving force behind the longest period of sustained success.
Spend any amount of time listening to Ryan Getzlaf in post-game, pre-game, or non-game related interviews and you will hear him talk about things like effort, consistency, structure, and accountability. Talk of “playing the right way and doing the the things we need to be doing” is not at all infrequent when discussing the Ducks’ recipe for success. All of which are hallmarks of Law and Order.
However, should you find yourself watching Getzlaf actually play hockey, you will notice a set of tendencies and characteristics that differ markedly from those he expresses vocally. Blind passes to teammates, suspecting and unsuspecting alike. Drop passes to no one in particular. Big hits that take him out of the play when energy is low, and the occasional scrap when the situation calls for it. Add that to his almost comical insistence on not using what is an absolutely dominant shot, and the rare, but civil, verbalizations of displeasure with the officials, and Getzlaf is almost certainly an agent of Chaos.
And yet, in all of that, there is a singular purpose and motivation, the success of the Anaheim Ducks franchise. Captain Dad’s actions may vary wildly from Lawful to Chaotic and back again, but his intentions are pure. As is the case in so many family sitcoms, (Captain) Dad is Neutral Good.
True Neutral: Derek Grant
Examples: Bran Stark, Lt. Commander Data, Django, Shrek, C3PO
Derek Grant is a hockey player that exists and plays hockey. He is the very definition of a “replacement level player” in every possible way, both good and bad. He’s on the verge of 30, and until two seasons ago, when he found himself joining the Ducks in free agency, had yet to play 50 games in a single season. Since then, he has managed to score all of his career goals, and managed to become a semi-ironic, semi-sincere fan favorite in Anaheim. The gap-toothed charmer’s first career hat trick in November earned him admiration from his fans, plus two benefits: Tea with Aly Lozoff and the right to name his friends’ first-born child.
The #Elite1C, as the kids call him, is top 10 on the Ducks in goals, points, and penalty minutes, while leading the team in shorthanded goals. He has been the pivot for literally every line in Anaheim at some point in his three years with the team, has found a particularly effective role as a penalty killer, and as the center for a retro-esque fourth line with Carter Rowney and Nic Deslauriers. Derek Grant isn't going to make any team a contender with his presence alone — but there are a lot worse players you could put in a lineup instead of him.
He’s managed to become a surprisingly, and depressingly, vital contributor to a Ducks team in transition, all while posting truly awful underlying stats. He isn't Evil per se, nor is he Good. He seems more than happy to accept his role within the team and embrace the rule of Law. Yet his very presence is itself, Chaotic. He is it seems, really, True Neutral.
Neutral Evil: Ryan Kesler
Examples: Lord Petyr Baelish, Darth Vader, Loki, Lex Luthor, Kingpin, Barty Crouch, Smaug
This one just kinda feels right doesn’t it? A few years ago, at the height of his powers, it would have been hard to not put Ryan Kesler in Chaotic Evil. But now, everyone’s least favorite American is on LTIR and has taken his talents to SoundCloud. It’s hard to say that someone who isn’t playing is either Chaotic or Lawful, but it’s pretty obvious he’s Evil.
At his best, Kesler was a junkyard dog of a centerman. Tasked with shutting down opposing teams’ best players night after night, and doing so with a lack of grace or civility befitting his place among the league’s most-hated players, Kesler was able to all but eliminate the competition’s top line while also hitting 20 goals and 50 points with regularity. Case in point, even when showing his softer side with Between Two Zamboni’s, Kes couldn’t hide his evil nature, taunting his own teammates with his saucy antagonism and ready wit.
Ultimately, an arthritic hip seems to have bested him, causing the Michigan native to look like a shell of his former self the last few seasons. But one thing Ducks fans can be sure of is that whether he’s playing or not, Ryan Kesler is out there somewhere, trying to get under somebody’s skin.
@RyanJohansen19 How’s summer training going? Want to meet me in the streets before we get going on the ice?— Ryan Kesler (@Ryan_Kesler) August 5, 2018
Chaotic Good: Josh Manson
Examples: Sirius Black, IronMan, Robin Hood, R2D2, Captain Kirk, Aubrey Little
I have said it before and I will say it again — Josh Manson is everything Bob Murray believes to be good and true about this game. He’s a hard-nosed throwback style stay-at-home defenseman who isn’t afraid to go sit by himself in the corner for five minutes should it be necessary. The problem with that is ... well, he’s off the ice for five minutes. Manson quickly developed into one of the Ducks’ best defenseman and in his second year with the alphabet on his sweater, he has clearly emerged as a leader on the team.
(Editor’s Note: Even the question of whether Josh Manson should stay on the team makes him a chaotic bargaining chip. He is beloved enough to stay with all his chaotic energy and his Dudley Do Right gleaming smile, and he is good enough to be a shiny toy within reach of other teams. Even Bob Murray has stated that teams who want him are going to have to bring their coin and stacks of assets.)
A few years ago, after a brutal cheap-shot on Cam Fowler by Mark Giordano, Josh Manson found himself conveniently tangled up with the Calgary Captain behind the Flames’ net and the two proceeded to have a disagreement. Manson got the better of the exchange. The next year, with injuries decimating both the forward and defensive corps of the Ducks, Manson found himself having a breakout season and posting career highs in goals, assists, shots, and (to that point, at least) ice time. With his emergence as both a leader and an impact player, and a keen understanding of the limitations of on-ice officials vis-à-vis concepts of justice and morality, Josh Manson is an avatar of Chaotic Good.
Chaotic Neutral: Nick Ritchie
Examples: Deadpool, Loki, Taako, Hulk, Catwoman, Huck Finn, Draco Malfoy
Oh, Nicholas. You beautiful, chubby-cheeked menace. Nick Ritchie has become a particularly divisive player both within the Anaheim Calling staff and the Ducks community at large. Pegged as a potential top-6 forward going into the draft, Anaheim left Philadelphia that year feeling confident that they had managed to grab a high-impact forward prospect who could help the team score goals while also fitting the physical, big-bodied style they had utilized in their ’07 Cup run. Well, it’s been a few years and I’m not too sure anyone within or without the organization is completely confident in what he is. (Except his grit-minded fan club!)
His underlying metrics continue to show a capable play-driving winger being questionably utilized farther the down the lineup than he deserves. He’s managed to show flashes of a major league wrist shot that should see him being far more productive than he has to date. And yet, as AC’s own Bonnie Shockey will gladly point out, he just can’t seem to get out of his own damn way. He has a habit of not only taking bad penalties, but taking them 200-feet away from his own net and at the worst possible times. He has shown a willingness, if not an eagerness, to defend his more traditionally skilled teammates from the Big Bads and the Heavies of the NHL.
And yet, it’s hard to know how much that can be appreciated when he keeps taking himself off the ice and often forcing his teammates to clean up his mess a man down. They say everyone has a Devil and an Angel on their shoulders telling them what to do, for Good or Evil. Nick Ritchie seems to just have two Nick Ritchies. There is no good and evil. There is no law and order. Nick Ritchie plays with a reckless abandon that is truly enviable in its purity. But as his Chaotic Neutral alignment would suggest, whether the results of such an outlook are positive or negative, selfless or selfish, Good or Evil; well, that’s just about anyone’s guess.
Chaotic Evil: Nicolas Deslauriers
Examples: Gollum, Joker, Mister Mxyzptlk, Apocalypse, Patrick Bateman (American Psycho), Gregor Clegane, Ramsay Bolton
Nic Deslauriers, as all agents of evil do at some point in their travels, has managed to find himself in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, and for all the wrong reasons. One of the few Enforcers left in a league that has seen a continuous decrease in fighting over the last several years, DLo seems to have found a home in Southern California. Much to the chagrin of a considerable portion of the Anaheim fanbase, Murray has insisted on having a professional pugilist on the 23-man roster for almost his entire tenure as General Manager. And given that Murray is the oldest of old school guys, a team with as much youth and inexperience as this year’s Ducks was not going to be the exception.
[Enter stage left, NIC DESLAURIERS. Exit stage right, 2020 FOURTH-ROUND DRAFT PICK.]
With 12 fighting majors in 47 appearances for Anaheim this year, Deslauriers is the only player in the NHL with a double digit fight total. While players like Mathew Tkachuk and Zach Kassian are getting all the press for a fight that was more Attitude Era than it was Norris Division, Deslauriers is actually about that action boss. The on-ice embodiment of Murray’s anachronistic fetish for outlaw justice, Deslauriers seems more than happy to play less than ten minutes a night while trying to hit everyone and everything as hard and as often as he can. In an interview with Steve Carroll he said “I often say I’d rather fight than score a goal.” A bonafide role player who managed to turn a dying breed into a steady paycheck despite any evidence of its efficacy? Chaotic Evil indeed.
“[Some evil creatures] actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty for some evil deity or master.” Huh. I wonder if there is anyone who might fit that bill.
As you can see I did not list every player on the team, nor does this list cover past Ducks players or current and former players from around the league. I encourage you all to throw out your own suggestions for players that fit into the various alignments or to quibble with any of mine. Just remember to roll for initiative first!
**Any and all stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com and NaturalStatTrick.com. Fighting totals courtesy of HockeyFights.com. All alignment definitions and information courtesy of EasyDamus.com.**
And a special thanks to CJ, Bonnie, and Sie for helping to make this dumb idea come to life. [Editor’s Note: We’ll happily follow you into battle, guildmember. Just watch our backs, and provide snacks.]