In somewhat surprising news, the Anaheim Ducks announced late last night that 25 year old power forward Ryan Getzlaf will be the team’s eight captain. Here are some tidbits from the team’s press release.
The Anaheim Ducks announced today that the National Hockey League (NHL) club has named Ryan Getzlaf team captain. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne have been named alternate captains for the 2010-11 season. In addition, Corey Perry and Todd Marchant will serve as additional alternate captains when necessary.
“This is another step in the maturity process of Ryan Getzlaf,” said Head Coach Randy Carlyle. “We felt that with it being his sixth season in the league, now is the time for the transition and the veteran players agreed with us.”
Getzlaf, 25 (5/10/85), who is entering his sixth NHL season, will become the eighth captain in Ducks history after serving the past two seasons as an alternate captain for Scott Niedermayer. Having led the team in scoring in two of the last three seasons, Getzlaf also led the club in assists and ranked second in points in 2009-10 (19-50=69 points in 66 contests). The 6-4, 221-pound center also appeared in his first Olympics in 2010, winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the Winter Games in Vancouver. He finished the Olympic tournament tied for second on Team Canada with 2-5=7 points in seven contests.
A native of Regina Saskatchewan, Getzlaf has earned 107-232=339 points in 363 career games. His career +64 rating leads all active NHL players under age 25 heading into the 2010-11 regular season.
I must admit, I was expecting the Ducks to make more of a “transitional” decision regarding their captaincy by handing the “C” to an older player such as Saku Koivu. Koivu has 10 years on Getzlaf and also served as the captain for the Montreal Canadiens before moving over to Anaheim last season.
Still, naming Getzlaf captain does follow a recent trend of NHL teams naming their best young player captain even if that player isn’t always an outspoken leader. From the lead-by-example types such as Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby to the boisterous Alex Ovechkin, the common thread is a high talent level and long future with a given franchise.
By that logic, Getzlaf was the obvious choice for the Ducks. My suggestion for Getzlaf to prove his new found maturity: save your head, Ryan. It’s time for him to accept follicle reality. By parting with the last remaining threads of his hair, he’ll show the wisdom of a cagey veteran. Just a suggestion.