After Corey Perry’s buyout and subsequent move to the Dallas Stars, Ryan Getzlaf now finds himself as the team’s longest-tenured player by far.
He’s the last remaining member of the Stanley Cup team and he’s been the Ducks’ captain for almost a decade.
Getzlaf has been productive for a player on the other side of 30 but it’s clear he’s heading towards the twilight of his career. It’s almost like Getzlaf is being wasted on a rebuilding Ducks team that’s closer to winning the lottery than making the playoffs. There have been rumblings of a potential Getzlaf trade – but would the Ducks actually trade their franchise stalwart?
Granted, Getzlaf has a No Movement Clause (NMC) built into his deal (because GM Bob Murray was handing them out like Halloween candy during the mid-2010s,) so he’d have to agree to any trade to actually be moved.
But hey, even Wayne Gretzky got traded – so why not Getzy?
Getzlaf’s contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season and has an AAV of $8.25 million, according to details provided by CapFriendly. Granted, his base salary during that last year is only about $3 million, meaning a team would still have to be at least $8.25 million under the cap to take on Getzlaf’s contract. Would a team close to the top of the standings be willing to take that on that much cash for a 34-year-old center? It depends on how much a team might think Getzlaf’s playmaking and veteran presence can help.
So, where could Getzlaf theoretically fit?
He could slide in nicely onto either a veteran team like Boston or Pittsburgh, where he could get one more shot at a championship anchoring the contender’s second or third line.
We also think he could provide much-needed veteran leadership for clubs like Colorado, Columbus, or Florida, who are obviously talented but lack a battle-hardened pro. Getzlaf could provide the stability those teams need to get them over the proverbial hump.
The Ducks would obviously ask for at least one first-round pick in return for Getzlaf, along with some prospects to sweeten the pot. In certain cases, teams might need to clear cap space in order to fit him in, so some crafty cap maneuvering might need to be done before Ryan can go to his new home.
As a team-building towards the future, they’ll take anything they can get, but obviously, a blue-chip defenseman would be a fantastic haul. From a team that was once loaded with blue-line talent, the Ducks have severely regressed in that department over the past few years. That being said, some offensive firepower wouldn’t hurt – they’re currently 30th (out of 31) in Goals For on the season.
Now, of course, all these “what ifs” are only possible if Getzlaf were to waive his NMC. All accounts seem to show that Getzlaf loves it in Anaheim, and it’s probably for the best that he never gets traded, to be honest.
Sure, the return from trading a guy as talented as Getzlaf would be great, but is it worth setting the precedent that the reward for being as loyal as Getzlaf has been getting shipped out of town?
It’s one thing if Getzlaf decides to leave in free agency – even Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne did that – but for the team to move on, it would have to be a move very obviously agreed upon by both sides. But while we have him, let’s appreciate number 15 for all he’s worth.