Ryan Getzlaf is one of the newest members of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, chosen 19th overall in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. With elite prospects on both wings, such as Stanislav Chistov and Joffrey Lupul, the Ducks were looking to pick up a player of similar quality in the pivot postion. This big strong Calgary Hitman was exactly what they were looking for.
Getzlaf was ranked 5th in North American Skaters by the Central Scouting Bureau. Hockey’s Future had him projected to go 13th overall and the Hockey News had him ranked 9th overall. It was a surprise to everyone when he fell to 19th, especially Getzlaf. He described it as being “nerve-wracking up in the stands,” and that he expected to go a little higher. But he was quick to point out: “It’s just the way things work
out. I’m happy to be here right now, and wherever I
went, I went; it’s still the first round, and I’m
still happy about it. So, I’m not discouraged at all.”
Anaheim was also surprised he fell to them. Getzlaf says that he never spoke to the Ducks during the interview process and was surprised to be picked by them. “They weren’t expecting me to be there when they picked, and I was, and I’m just happy to go there.” He doesn’t think he knows anyone in the organization and has never been to the Anaheim area, but looks forward to visiting it soon.
The 2002-2003 season was a real breakout year for Getzlaf, recording 68 points and 121 PIM in 70 games after getting only 18 points and 34 PIM in 63 games the year before. “I didn’t really have any expectations, because I didn’t have a breakout season in my 16-year-old season. So, I didn’t think I was ready to be there. But I came out with a good year this year, and had fun with it.”
He has the potential to develop into a top first line center, a type of prospect the Ducks have been lacking. He describes himself as a hard hitting forward, saying “I just play hard, I’m a big kid, like to get in there. I’m a good two-way player.” Although some of his favorite players are Mike Comrie and Peter Forsberg, he says he doesn’t pattern his game after anyone in the NHL. He plans on working on his strength and conditioning this summer.
Getzlaf helps address the problem of the lack of size and strength that the Ducks have been plagued with recently. “I’m a big forward, and they need that.
It’s just the way things go, I guess.”
After the Ducks drafted Getzlaf, they acquired another first round draft pick from Dallas in exchange for two second rounders. They used that pick (28th overall) to select London Knights right winger, Corey Perry.
With all the attention on Anaheim lately, Getzlaf looks forward to being a part of it all. “It should be a good time.”