By Greg Beacham
AP Sports Writer
ANAHEIM (AP) – Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf will retire at the conclusion of the regular season, ending his 17-year NHL career spent entirely with one club.
The 36-year-old Getzlaf made his announcement Tuesday. The Ducks (28-31-12) have 11 games left in what’s almost certain to be their fourth consecutive non-playoff season.
Getzlaf has been one of the top playmaking centers in hockey for most of his career, scoring 1,013 points in 1,150 games since his NHL debut in October 2005 with the then-Mighty Ducks. A sublime passer with remarkable vision on the ice, he became Anaheim’s career franchise scoring leader last Oct. 31, and he became the 92nd player in league history to score 1,000 points on Nov. 16.
Getzlaf also leads the Ducks in career games played and assists (731). He has been Anaheim’s captain for the past 12 seasons, presiding over a lengthy period of sustained team success before their current struggles.
He is a Stanley Cup champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Canada, a three-time NHL All-Star and the runner-up for the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP in 2014.
Despite missing 22 games with various injuries this season, Getzlaf is tied for fourth on the Ducks’ roster in scoring with three goals and 28 assists. He has at least 25 assists for the 16th time in his 17 seasons even though he sat out most of the past month with a lower-body injury.
Getzlaf’s decision is the second landmark of a new era for the Ducks, one of the Western Conference’s most consistently successful teams of the 21st century before the past four seasons. Bob Murray, Anaheim’s general manager since 2008, resigned last November after being accused of repeated verbal abuse of team employees.
Getzlaf has remained a beloved figure among Orange County fans who adore his playmaking abilities and revere his loyalty to their often-overlooked club. He expressed that loyalty again last season when he declined to be traded to a contender to chase a late-career championship ring.
Getzlaf is the 45th player in NHL history to score 1,000 points with a single team, and the 39th to do it with his first club. He spent his first 14 seasons playing alongside fellow 2003 draftee Corey Perry, forming one of the most dynamic scoring partnerships in recent NHL history.
Only 14 players in NHL history retired after playing more seasons than Getzlaf while spending their entire career with one club. He is the first one-team player in Anaheim history to play at least 10 seasons.
Along with his rare status as a one-team player in the modern game, Getzlaf also dazzled fans as a throwback player who complemented his high-level skill with a pugnacious attitude. He racked up 954 career penalty minutes, and he regularly dropped the gloves in his early days before evolving into a more mature team leader. He is also one of the dwindling number of NHL players permitted to play without a protective visor on his helmet.
Getzlaf, a Saskatchewan native, also won Olympic gold in 2010 and 2014 alongside Perry. Getzlaf scored the game-winning goal in a victory over Slovakia in the Vancouver semifinals, and he played superbly during the Canadians’ repeat title run in Sochi.
Getzlaf was the 19th overall pick in the 2003 draft. The Ducks chose Perry nine picks later, and they quickly became one of the top offensive duos in hockey with Getzlaf’s passing and Perry’s goal-scoring acumen.
Getzlaf and Perry won the Stanley Cup together during their second NHL season in 2007, teaming up with Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Jean-Sebastien Giguere as the Ducks became the first California club to claim hockey’s ultimate prize.
Getzlaf became Anaheim’s captain in 2010 following Niedermayer’s retirement, and his tenure with the “C” is easily the longest in franchise history. The Ducks remained a regular playoff contender for the following decade, winning five consecutive Pacific Division titles and reaching two conference finals from 2013-17.
Anaheim faded from contention in the past four years while Getzlaf’s injury problems increased, and Perry was released in 2019. The Ducks mounted a wholesale rebuild around young talent this season under new general manager Pat Verbeek, trading away key veterans Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson near the deadline.
Getzlaf will join Vancouver’s Daniel and Henrik Sedin as the only players to have a one-team career at least 17 seasons long entirely in the 21st century. Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin also qualify, but they’re still active.
Anaheim’s home finale is April 24 against St. Louis. The Ducks finish the regular season April 29 at Dallas.
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