Since there is literally nothing to do right now but stare at the walls I decided to take a look back at the Ducks through the ages. But rather than just outright Remembering Some Guys, I thought it would be fun to try and use the final digit of jersey numbers to see which digit can send out the best six-man unit.
The rules are simple. You can only use each player and jersey number once, but you can use any jersey number a player had throughout their tenure in Anaheim. In the name of not over-thinking this, let’s just agree to assume each player at their best in a Ducks uniform. For some of these that will be players at the beginning of their careers who went on to reach higher heights with other teams, while others they found their way to Southern California at the end of their journeys. When all else failed, I erred towards games played.
I also decided to ask my uncle for his thoughts since my age limits my knowledge of a certain generation of Ducks players, and my swiss cheese brain limits it for the rest. After all, it’s his fault I root for this damn team so he might as well pitch in.
Note: There are two, and only two, instances in which I was forced to....smudge the rules, as it were. This is because goalies ruin everything and there is only so much I can do about that.
The Ones You Love
Fwd: Kyle Palmieri, #51 (198GP, 43G, 46A, 90PIM)
Fwd: Saku Koivu, #11 (332GP, 64G, 127A, 186PIM)
Fwd: Sergei Fedorov, #91 (85GP, 31G, 35A, 44PIM)
Def: Sheldon Brookbank, #21 (215GP, 4G, 23A, 300PIM)
Def: Brandon Montour, #71 (169GP, 16G, 47A, 96PIM)
G: Jonas Hiller, #1 (326GP, 162W, .916SV%, 2.51GAA)
Main Takeaways: The only group with two right-shot defensemen, Los Unos are already off to a great start. While neither Koivu nor Fedorov were anywhere close to their primes, they were still both incredibly effctive players in Anaheim. Montour and Brookbank gives you a solid offensive-defensive pairing on the blue line, and Jonas Hiller’s best years in Anaheim were damn good. Maybe the most complete group on here.
Notable Omissions: Ron Tugnutt #1; Jonathan Bernier #1; Jeff Friesen #11; Mathieu Schneider #11; Daniel Sprong #11; Dan Bylsma #21; Sean O’Donnell #21; Chris Wagner #21; Steve Shields #31; Curtis McIlhenny #31; Troy Terry #61
Uncle Jimmy Says: Sergei Federov - Famously disappointed an entire fan base when he defected. Fans never forgave Sergei for leaving Rock City for the sunshine of Southern California. Mainly because they knew what they were losing, a big, fast center with deceptive hands and the ability to be a serious threat at both ends of the ice. In his prime many of his peers considered him the best player in the game.
The Deuces Are Wild
Fwd: Mike Leclerc, #12 (291GP, 54G, 78A, 251PIM)
Fwd: Stu Grimson, #32 (231GP, 5G, 8A, 583PIM)
Fwd: Todd Marchant, #22 (360GP, 32G, 55A, 184PIM)
Def: Bobby Dollas, #2 (305GP, 28G, 61A, 213PIM)
Def: Josh Manson, #42 (385GP, 21G, 76A, 348PIM)
G: Guy Hebert, #31 (441GP, 173W, .911SV%, 2.76GAA)
Main Takeaways: Remember how I said I cheated twice? Well this is the first one. There are literally no goalies in the history of the Ducks franchise who wore a jersey ending in a 2. That being said, three minus one equals two, so really what's the difference? Anyways, this team is throwback as hell and I love it. If you want to quibble with the Grim Reaper being here instead of say Ryan Carter or Travis Moen, thats fine. But you have to go tell Stu he didn't make the list.
Notable Omissions: Ryan Carter #52; Travis Moen #32; Kevin Bieksa #2; Toni Lydman #32, Dan “Big Sexy” Sexton #42
Uncle Jimmy Says: Bobby Dollas - Not quite an enforcer but still a physical, hard nosed defenseman who never shied away from an opponent.
Threes In Good Company
Fwd: Teemu Selanne, #13 (966GP, 457G, 531A, 471PIM)
Fwd: Nick Bonino, #63 (189GP, 33G, 49A, 48PIM)
Fwd: Jakob Silfverberg, #33 (510GP, 128G, 144A, 148PIM)
Def: Francois Beauchemin, #23 (592GP, 56G, 140A, 360PIM)
Def: Keith Carney, #3 (271GP, 13G, 48A, 185PIM)
G: Jeff Deslauriers, #43 (4GP, 3W, .903SV%, 2.74GAA)
Main Takeaways: Remember when the Ducks traded away Teemu for Steve Shields, Jeff Friesen and a 2nd round pick? That was wild. Then he came back a few years later and someone else was wearing the number 8 and so he had to wear 13? And everyone just had to pretend like it was totally fine and normal that possibly the best player in franchise history was wearing a number that no one knew him in? That was weird. Anywho - this team is actually pretty good? Like other than Selanne everyone plays defense and Teemu is Teemu so who cares. If any group was going to be able to clear the 2.74GAA hurdle The Other Deslauriers is bringing to the table, this one is as good a bet as any.
Notable Omissions: Jason York #3; Clayton Stoner #3; Mike Brown #13, Jason Marshall #23; Jason Blake #33; Shea Theodore #53
Uncle Jimmy Says: Keith Carney - A physical, gritty type of defenseman that could make a zero to zero hockey game fun to watch. That being said, his biggest contribution to Anaheim history was at the other end of the ice. A pass from behind the net to an open Steve Rucchin became the primary assist on Anaheim’s first series clinching goal.
Fours At The Door
Fwd: Bobby Ryan, #54 (378GP, 157G, 142A, 251PIM)
Fwd: Joe Sacco, #14 (333GP, 62G, 68A, 183PIM)
Fwd: Rob Niedermayer, #44 (382GP, 56G, 68A, 311PIM)
Def: Cam Fowler, #4 (679GP, 67G, 234A, 185PIM)
Def: Ruslan Salei, #24 (594GP, 26G, 79A, 735PIM)
G: Frederik Andersen, #31 (125GP, 77W, .918SV%, 2.33GAA)
Main Takeaways: And we have come to my second and final cheat. Three plus one equals four, and thats four more than the number of goalkeepers in franchise history who have seen fit to use that particular number as their final digit. Moving on! Ruslan Salei was my first favorite player that wasn't a star. Selanne and Kariya were easy enough to love, sure. But Rusty was in early on what it would mean to be a Duck for the next two and half decades. He had a wonderful knack for taking awful penalties. He also scored one of the biggest goals in team history. The House that Rusty Built indeed.
Notable Omissions: Todd Bertuzzi #4; Aaron Ward #4; Adam Henrique #14; Chris Kunitz #14; Brad May #24; Simon Despres #24; James Wisniewski #34; Daniel Winnik #34; Sheldon Souray #44; Nate Thompson #44
Uncle Jimmy Says: Joe Sacco - A defensive winger who thrived at forcing opponents to earn every inch of ice.
Five Man Numerical Band
Fwd: Ryan Getzlaf, #15 (1053GP, 274G, 691A, 888PIM)
Fwd: Emerson Etem, #65 (115GP, 15G, 16A, 19PIM)
Fwd: Matt Cullen, #45 (427GP, 65G, 135A, 168PIM)
Def: Chris Pronger, #25 (220GP, 36G, 114A, 285PIM)
Def: Luca Sbisa, #5 (227GP, 9G, 40A, 181PIM)
G: Jean-Sebastian Giguere, #35 (447GP, 206W, .915SV%, 2.46GAA)
Main Takeaways: Pairing Pronger and Sbisa together is awesome but it does make me wish I could have found a way to get Joffrey Lupul on here instead of Etem to complete the trifecta. Getzlaf, Pronger, Giguere is about as good a spine as you can ask for. Neither Etem nor Cullen ever hit 20 goals in Anaheim, although the former did do stuff like this on occassion.
Notable Omissions: Joffrey Lupul #15; Bryan Allen #5; Korbinian Holzer #5; David Karpa #15; Andy Sutton #25; Mike Santorelli #25; Mikhail Shtalenkov #35; Sami Vatanen #45; Shawn Thornton #45;
Six For Some, Half-Dozen For The Other
Fwd: Samuel Pahlsson, #26 (527GP, 51G, 90A, 324PIM)
Fwd: Ondrej Kase, #86 (198GP, 43G, 53A, 44PIM)
Fwd: Marty McInnis, #16 (272GP, 57G, 88A, 127PIM)
Def: Vitaly Vishnevski, #6 (416GP, 11G, 37A, 403PIM)
Def: Josh Mahura, #76 (28GP, 2G, 7A, 6PIM)
G: John Gibson, #36 (287GP, 139W, .918SV%, 2.53GAA)
Main Takeaways: So, you’re telling me John Gibson has to backstop a team with one super young defenseman, one perfectly replacement level defenseman, a good not great center who can’t score, a depth winger who scored 20 goals for Anaheim once, and a talented but incosistent forward with major injury concerns? He should feel right at home.
Notable Omissions: Ben Lovejoy #6; Erik Gudbranson #6; Warren Rachel #16; George Parros #16; Todd Ewen #36; Jiri Sekac #46; Dustin Penner #76
Uncle Jimmy Says: Marty McInnis - A solid offensive contributor, Marty was an asset everywhere he played. Assured to deliver between 30 and 50 points, he is someone you find yourself relying on in key situations.
Fwd: Ryan Kesler, #17 (346GP, 76G, 104A, 326PIM)
Fwd: Andrew Cogliano, #7 (584GP, 102G, 131A, 170PIM)
Fwd: David Perron, #57 (28GP, 8G, 12A, 34PIM)
Def: Scott Niedermayer, #27 (371GP, 60G, 204A, 306PIM)
Def: Hampus Lindholm, #47 (502GP, 50G, 143A, 256PIM)
G: Tom Askey, #67 (7GP, 0W, .894SV%, 2.64GAA)
Main Takeaways: Let me know if you can see the part of this roster that may cause the most concern. It’s ok, I'll wait. Luckily for Mr. Askey however, there might not be a better collection of players to put in front of him to make up for the fact that he is, uh ...*checks notes*... not good. This is basically the team Ron Hextall would make if he was put in charge of this assignment, which makes the fact that Hextall wore 27 his entire tenure in Philadelphia a fun little coincidence.
Notable Omissions: Pavel Trnka #7; Tomas Sandstrom #17; Dustin Penner #17; Jari Kurri #17; Lubomir Visnovsky #17; Nick Ritchie #37; Rickard Rakell #67; Adam Oates #77; Devante Smith-Pelly #77
The Great Eights
Fwd: Andy McDonald, #48 (391GP, 92G, 167A, 162PIM)
Fwd: Gary Valk, #18 (246GP, 40G, 52A, 312PIM)
Fwd: Jamie McGinn, #88 (21GP, 8G, 4A, 23PIM)
Def: Sandis Ozolinsh, #8 (84GP, 13G, 27A, 48PIM)
Def: Niclas Havelid, #28 (310GP, 24G, 61A, 152PIM)
G: Dan Ellis, #38 (23GP, 9W, .915SV%, 2.51GAA)
Main Takeaways: Are we missing anyone here? No, no I don't think we are. I think this is the exact group of six 8s we would all pick. Crazy how that happens sometimes. This is as close as you can get to a beer league roster with actual NHL players.
Fun Fact: To a man, every player who played in both the Mighty Ducks era and the Anaheim Ducks era saw a rather significant spike in PIM during their Anaheim tenure. Nobody examplifies this more than Andy McDonald. Andy Mac had 86 PIM in 276GP before the branding change, and had 76PIM in 115GP after. The 2006-07 season is basically Randy Carlyle’s version of The Aristocrats.
Notable Omissions: No one. Not a single one.
Uncle Jimmy Says: Gary Valk - A winger with good size, he could be relied on at both ends of the ice. Anything an opponent achieved against Garry had to be earned.
A Mighty Fine Group of Nines
Fwd: Paul Kariya, #9 (606GP, 300G, 369A, 213PIM
Fwd: Max Jones, #49 (89GP, 10G, 7A, 50PIM)
Fwd: Nick Sorensen, #59 (5GP, 0G, 1A, 2PIM)
Def: Ryan Whitney, #19 (82GP, 4G, 34A, 60PIM)
Def: Don McSween, #39 (38GP, 3G, 9A, 43PIM)
G: Ray Emery, #29 (10GP, 7W, .926SV%, 2.28GAA)
Main Takeaways: This is taking the idea of stars and scrubs to a whole new level. Paul Kariya does not deserve to have this be his roster. Aside from Ray Emery turning into Dominik Hasek over a 10 game sample size, Kariya is just trying to drag 4 other guys who never played 100 games in the organization to respectability. That should be a fairly familiar situation for him.
Notable Omissions: Bob Corkum #19; Joffrey Lupul #19; Patrick Maroon #19; Petr Sykora #39; Matt Beleskey #39
Uncle Jimmy Says: Don McSween - Almost singlehandedly changed Ducks history when, in a game against the Jets, his skate blade severed the achilles tendon of a young winger from Finland. Luckily for all (except maybe Oleg Tverdovsky), a full recovery was made and Ducks lore remained intact. As a defenseman Don was reliant, quick and a strong puck handler.
These Zeroes Are Heroes
Fwd: Steve Rucchin, #20 (616GP, 153G, 279A, 140PIM)
Fwd: Corey Perry, #10 (988GP, 372G, 404A, 1110PIM)
Fwd: Antoine Vermette, #50 (136GP, 17G, 27A, 76PIM)
Def: Kent Huskins, #40 (142GP, 6G, 22A, 100PIM)
Def: Brendan Mikkelson, #60 (67GP, 0G, 5A, 38PIM)
G: Ilya Bryzgalov, #80 (77GP, 27W, .902SV%, 2.60GAA)
Main Takeaways: Rucchin is probably on Anaheim’s first ballot for the Hall of Pretty Good along with longtime teammate Guy Hebert. Rucchin had a simple job, do everything Teemu and Kariya weren’t or didn't want to do. And he was great at it. Seeing Vermette get in here over Bob Corkum sucks but thats just how it goes sometimes. Brendan Mikkelson and Kent Huskins is the most dead puck era defense pair I can think of. Perry and Bryzgalov are doing most of the work here if this team wants to compete. I have no idea where that gets you, but I'm positive it’ll be a fun journey.
Notable Omissions: Oleg Tverdosky #10; Sean Pronger #10; Bob Corkum #20; Viktor Fasth #30, Ryan Miller #30, Jason LaBarbera #30; Anton Khudobin #30; Vaclav Prospal #40
Uncle Jimmy Says: Steve Rucchin - Nearly invisible with the spotlights intensely focused on his famed line mates, Rucchin etched out his place in Ducks history by excelling at the qualities those same line mates were lacking. Using a combination of size, strength, and often overlooked ability he was able to be exactly what was needed for his line to flourish.
Verdict: As far as I’m concerned, this comes down to the The Ones and the The Sevens. The Twos are unequivocally my favorite, but thats because thats some serious throwback hockey and I am the Hockey Boomer. You could make a strong and well-reasoned argument for either The Fives or The Fours being able to make a big push in a tournament setting. To be honest as I’m writing this I’m beginning to think I may be underselling just how good the Getzlaf-Pronger pairing might be, especially when backstopped by Giggy; I just don't know where the hell the goals are coming from. No I think 7’s have a better chance of getting something out of ole Tom Askey as opposed to anyone getting anything at all out of Etem. Sixes, Eights, and Nines are non-factors here, and although I love Selanne and Perrs, you absolutely aren't going to convince me the Threes and Zeroes don't cap out at Bronze Medal game. No, if you’re asking me to put money on it I’m taking Sevens over Ones, though not by much. But who cares what I think; who would you take?
Which number has the best 6man roster?
This poll is closed
The Ones, obviously
The Sevens, goalies shmoalies
Neither, how’d you get both choices wrong?!
All statistics courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com
All jersey numbers courtesy of the Anaheim Ducks