Naturally, the Ryan Getzlaf news – that he signed an eight-year, $66-million (all currency U.S.) contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday – can be looked at two ways, depending upon which side of the NHL fence you sit.
For the Ducks, it was a significant signing. Getzlaf, their captain, was poised to become an unrestricted free agent in July, if they couldn’t get his name on a new contract. A year after watching a hot prospect, Justin Schultz, leave the organization without getting anything in return, they really couldn’t let it happen again. If the signals from the Getzlaf camp had been any different, if it looked as if he wanted to test the open market next summer, general manager Bob Murray would have had to make a tough call next month as the trade deadline approached.
But Getzlaf wanted to stay, so the Ducks opened their wallet and gave him the maximum eight-year term permitted under the new collective agreement. On Friday, the Honda Center – just down the road from Disneyland – was the happiest place on earth.
The view was a little different around the rest of the NHL, however, just because Getzlaf’s signing took such an important, attractive free agent off the market. Any thought that Getzlaf would be this summer’s Zach Parise or Ilya Kovalchuk evaporated in the wash of team owner Henry Samueli’s cash outlay.
More than half the teams in the league desperately need what Getzlaf brings to the table – a centre with size and playmaking ability. If he’d hit the open market, any number – including the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames – would have paid plenty.
But Getzlaf made it clear Anaheim met all of his needs, short- and long-term. The Ducks are 16-3-3, one of the season’s powerhouses. He is playing at a high level (27 points in 22 games). His wife is from Orange County, her family still lives in the area, so for now and for the foreseeable future, California will be their home.
The attention of the rest of the NHL now turns to Corey Perry, the winner of the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2011, and another key Ducks player in a position to test the open market.
Perry wasn’t giving away anything about his plans Friday, other than to say: “We’ve talked, Getzy and I, a bunch of times. I’m not going to sit here and say yes or no. It’s one of those things I’ll just wait to see what happens. I’m not going to change my answer just because he’s signed.
“[But], obviously, it helps when you know he’s going to be here a long time. It could definitely have a factor on my decision.”
Getzlaf revealed he’d come to terms with the Ducks on Thursday night and signed the contract at 8:15 a.m. Friday. He confirmed getting the maximum eight-year term was critical.
“That’s all I was really looking for the entire time,” Getzlaf said. “It was never an option to do anything else. I’ve always envisioned myself playing for one team, especially this organization, which has been great to me. It’s nice to be settled in and know I’m going to be here for a long time.”
For Ducks forward Teemu Selanne, it just makes sense for Perry to stay on, if they can get the dollars to work.
“A lot of times, when you find someone to play with, who has so much chemistry like Getzy and Perry, for me, it would be crazy to go anywhere else when you have almost everything you need here,” Selanne said.
“You have a franchise which really wants to win, and which treats a player so well. You have an unbelievable player to play with. So I can’t see why this place wouldn’t be a happy place for both of them for a long time, but that’s not [up to] me.It’s up to them. But I’d love to see Corey Perry do the same thing.”