ANAHEIM, Calif. - Not wanting to lose another player to an offer sheet, the Anaheim Ducks locked up one of their top young stars Tuesday.
After Dustin Penner was signed to an offer sheet by the Edmonton Oilers in the off-season, the Ducks have signed 22-year-old centre Ryan Getzlaf to a US$26.625-million, five-year contract extension.
The Ducks believed the threat of an offer sheet from another NHL club was real given what happened with Penner.
"It is a real threat for any quality player in this age group," Ducks GM Brian Burke said Tuesday on a conference call. "It's changed the rules. It used to be you could wait until the end of the year and not worry about affecting your player's play.
"Now you got to try and see if there's a common ground and lock these guys up."
The new deal will pay Getzlaf an average of $5.325 million per year and runs through the 2012-13 season. Getzlaf, earning $623,200 this season, would have been a restricted free agent July 1.
"I'm thrilled," said Getzlaf. "This is a place that I want to play. I love being here. I was given the opportunity to negotiate a contract this early and the team showed that they wanted me here as much as I wanted to here.
"It was nice to get that out of the way this early."
The six-foot-three, 221-pound Getzlaf has 21 points (7-14) in 19 games this season. He had 58 points (25-33) in 82 games last season and then led the Stanley Cup champions in scoring with 17 points (7-10) in 21 playoff games last spring.
"The sky's the limit with Ryan Getzlaf, because of the unique package," said Burke. "To be that skilled and still be that big and have that kind of top-end speed and power ... He really, I think, can do what he wants in this league. And I say that with praise."
It's a big raise for Getzlaf and he knows it.
"The expectations are going to go up and they continue to grow as the years go by," said Getzlaf. "That's part of being a hockey player and growing as a player. I'm excited to have that opportunity right now."
He was Anaheim's first pick, 19th overall, in the 2003 NHL entry draft.
"This is an organization that's been first-class ever since I got here, as well as the city," said Getzlaf. "I've had a great time and look forward to many years playing in Anaheim. It's great to be able to still be part of this core group."