Getzlaf gets to stay in Anaheim with eight-year deal
ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf could have dipped his toes in the free agency waters this summer and used this monster rebound season like a giant shoehorn as leverage.
Instead, he made it clear Friday that he wanted to keep his feet firmly planted in Anaheim, with the only team he has played for in the National Hockey League and his family rooted in Southern California.
That's largely why Getzlaf was intent on a maximum-length deal -- an eight-year extension with the Anaheim Ducks that will net the captain an $8.25 million average payout annually through the 2020-21 season.
"It's always been my goal to be here," Getzlaf said in front of a throng of reporters and cameras at Anaheim's morning skate. "I've always envisioned myself playing for one team, especially this organization, it's been great to me. It's nice to be settled in and know that I'm going to be here for a long time."
Center - ANA
GOALS: 9 | ASST: 18 | PTS: 27
SOG: 51 | +/-: 10
Friday's announcement was one of two huge dominoes to fall in the organization. Getzlaf was set to become a free agent this summer along with longtime linemate Corey Perry, and the situation has been an underlying dynamic during the best 22-game mark (16-3-3) in franchise history.
Getzlaf received a significant raise from the $6.125 million he will make this season. Perry can command a big raise, too, from $4.8 million. Anaheim general manager Bob Murray was not immediately available to comment on whether he can re-sign Perry under next year's salary cap.
"We've had lots of conversations," Getzlaf said. "And me and Pears will talk along the way here, I'm sure. And hopefully they can get it done."
Perry was obviously happy for his longtime friend -- the two were born six days apart and have been together for a Stanley Cup championship in 2007 and an Olympic gold medal in 2010.
But Perry said the news won't affect his future.
"We've talked," Perry said. "Getzy and I have talked a bunch of times. I'm not going to sit here and say yes or no. It's one of those things -- I'll wait and see what happens. I'm not going to sit here and say yes or no … I'm not going to change my answer just because he signs."
Getzlaf blamed his disappointing 2011-12 to difficulty handling the captaincy along with managing his home life. His wife, Paige, had their second son in December. In the offseason Getzlaf talked to former teammates Scott Niedermayer and Brad May about how to find a better balance on and off the ice.
"I mostly learned how to be there for my kids as well as my teammates at the rink," Getzlaf told NHL.com last month. "That's something you have to weigh out. Me and my wife had to learn how to do that, and we did. I mean, this year has been absolutely great."
On the ice, Getzlaf has recaptured the form from his early career, when some pundits pegged him as a potential Hart Trophy candidate. He has 27 points in 22 games and looked like a wrecking ball at times. He is one point shy of 500 for his career going into Friday's game against Calgary.
Anaheim has only won one playoff series since the 2007 Cup run. Getzlaf said he got assurance from management and owners Henry and Susan Samueli that they intend to change that.
"It wasn't a no-brain decision where the money got thrown and I decided to stay here," Getzlaf said. "It was a process that we went through and establishing what direction we were going in and what direction we wanted to go in. Obviously, me, the ownership group, Bob, all have the same vision."
Ever-optimistic Teemu Selanne said what Getzlaf and Perry have is difficult to find, and his vision of the future includes the two skating on the top line.
"When you find somebody to play with that has so much chemistry than Getzy and Perry, for me, it would be just crazy to go somewhere else," Selanne said. "When you have almost everything that you need -- you have a franchise that really wants to win … I can see why this place can be a happy place for both of them for a long, long time."