March 9, 2013

Ducks feather former Pirate's nest with $66M deal

Rather than test the free-agency waters, Ryan Getzlaf opts to stay with Anaheim.

The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Ryan Getzlaf figured he couldn't find anything in free agency that he didn't already have with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks re-signed their captain to an eight-year, $66 million contract Friday, keeping the playmaking center with his only NHL team through the 2020-21 season.

Getzlaf, a former Portland Pirate, could have been an unrestricted free agent this summer along with Corey Perry, the former NHL MVP and his longtime linemate. Instead, Getzlaf and Ducks General Manager Bob Murray agreed to the longest contract extension allowed under the new collective bargaining agreement.

"It's always been my goal to be here," Getzlaf said. "I've always envisioned myself playing for one team, especially this organization."

The 27-year-old Getzlaf has 499 points in 534 games with Anaheim, establishing himself as one of the NHL's top playmakers. He won the Stanley Cup in 2007 and became Anaheim's captain in 2010.

After struggling last year to his lowest-scoring performance in a full NHL season, Getzlaf is in the midst of an outstanding year for the streaking Ducks (16-3-3), who have the NHL's second-best record behind Chicago.

Getzlaf has nine goals and 18 assists with a plus-10 rating in just 22 games this season, tying with Chicago's Patrick Kane for the Western Conference scoring lead. Getzlaf is making $6.125 million this season in the final year of his current contract

Bruce Boudreau has praised Getzlaf as one of the NHL's premier centers since the veteran coach took over the Ducks in late 2011.

"He's just starting to get into the prime of his hockey career," Boudreau said. "I thought it was a great job by Bob and the organization, and (we're) grateful to Ryan to want to stay here."

Perry hasn't yet re-signed with Anaheim, and has seemed more interested than Getzlaf in exploring free agency. The gold medal-winning Canadian Olympians have spent their entire careers with Anaheim, which drafted them together in the first round in 2003.

"I've wanted to be here and I've wanted Corey to be here," Getzlaf said. "We've had lots of conversations, and me and Perry will talk along the way here, I'm sure, and hopefully they can get it done."

Only Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya have scored more points for the Ducks than Getzlaf, who rose through Anaheim's minor-league system alongside Perry and debuted for the still-Mighty Ducks in 2005.


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