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Ducks Player Review - Ryan Getzlaf

by AJ Manderichio @AJManderichio / AnaheimDucks.com

Another summer is upon us, which means another round of player reviews. AnaheimDucks.com is featuring a different Ducks player throughout the summer (in numerical order), highlighting key stats while also keeping an eye on next season. We continue with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

The expectations are always high for Ryan Getzlaf. It's the weight and pressure constantly coming with a 'C' on your sweater.

Again, Getzlaf rose to the challenge.

To tell the story of his season, though, we need to start in March, when the Ducks returned from the league's mandatory five-day break. Anaheim need to make its push to separate itself in a crowded Pacific Division race and begin its dirve to the playoffs. Coming off a disappointing loss to Los Angeles right before the break, the Ducks wanted to start fresh - and start fast - with the postseason on the horizon. 

Getzlaf embodied the mission, emerging as one of the league's most dangerous players.

The captain posted a whopping 17 assists and 20 points in 13 games during the month of March, grabbing Third Star of the Week honors during that stretch. He led the Ducks to a 10-2-2 record, vaulting them by the San Jose Sharks for first place in the division.

His strong play would continue into April, as he collected another seven points to help the Ducks clinch a fifth-straight Pacific Division title.

Getzlaf ended the regular season leading the team in scoring, becoming the first player to lead the team in scoring for five straight seasons. He reached the 50-asssist mark for a franchise-best seventh time and was one of three NHL players (WSH's Niklas Backstrom and OTT's Erik Karlsson) and the only Western Conference player to record 50 assists in the each of the last two seasons. Among league leaders, he finished third in assists (58).

He also passed Teemu Selanne for the all-time franchise lead in assists and, for good measure, became the second player in franchise history to record 800 career NHL points, joining Selanne.

Don't forget - Getzlaf also helped lead Team Canada to the World Cup of Hockey championship with Team Canada, too.

All that was just the tip of the iceberg for Getzlaf.

In the First Round, Calgary had no answer for Getzlaf. He bullied the Flames in the first two games, posting four points, including a wild deflection off Lance Bouma for the game-winning power-play goal in Game 2.

Video: CGY@ANA, Gm2: Getzlaf nets go-ahead PPG off Bouma

On the goal, Getzlaf said he was "Lucky. We worked hard for the faceoff to get the puck back. Sometimes luck is on your side."

He would go on to add the final goal of the series, an empty-net dagger in Game 4, to sweep the Calgary Flames.

Video: ANA@CGY, Gm4: Getzlaf seals sweep with empty-netter

With the focus on Connor McDavid and the upstart Edmonton Oilers, Getzlaf once again stole the spotlight. He grabbed four points in the first three games of the Second Round series, but the Ducks still faced a series deficit heading into Game 4. Cue the captain, who had his signature playoff performance.

Video: ANA@EDM, Gm4: Getzlaf passes Selanne, spurs win

Getzlaf would score twice and add two assists - including the assist on Jakob Silfverberg's game-winning goal - to cap a night where he passed Selanne for the all-time franchise lead in playoff goals (36).

He would strike again in Game 5, with his goal kickstarting the Comeback on Katella, and his assist ending it.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm5: Perry ends thriller with goal in 2OT

Getzlaf finished the postseason with 19 points in 17 games, leading all skaters in points and assists (11) while finishing second in goals (8). 

Unfortunately, the postseason would end in disappointment, one that seemed to leave a lasting impression on the captain.

"Obviously when you get that close to the Final and having a chance to play for a Cup, it definitely leaves that empty feeling in your stomach," he said during his exit interview. "But our preparation has already started for next year. We are gonna need more from everybody. We didn't get it done this year, and going into to next season, we're going to have to up our preparation and be ready for when that puck drops."

What player will we see when the puck drops? Digging into advanced statistics, we can expect to see another dominant Ryan Getzlaf centering the top line for the Ducks. He continued to sit among team leaders in Corsi-For percentage even as his offensive zone starts dipped below 50%. He was also a force in both transition plays and generating shot attempts while quietly becoming a force in the faceoff circle. 

A motivated, hungry Getzlaf in search of another Cup? The rest of the league should be on notice.

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