There were many pending unrestricted free agents that were left unprotected for Wednesday’s expansion draft but the expectation is quite a few of them will ink new deals between the lifting of the transactions freeze on Thursday and the start of the free agent market next Wednesday. Among those appears to be center Ryan Getzlaf as Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register notes that the veteran is believed to be intending to return to Anaheim and re-sign with the Ducks before free agency opens up.
The 36-year-old has spent his entire 16-year career in Anaheim and is the longest-serving captain in franchise history after taking on that role in 2010. In his prime, he was a dominant top-line center but his production has tapered off sharply in recent years. This past season, he posted career lows offensively with just five goals and 12 assists in 48 games despite still averaging more than 16 minutes per game. That had him in trade speculation at the trade deadline although with an $8MM AAV, a viable deal never materialized.
Now that he’s set to hit the open market, it’s fair to say that Getzlaf will be taking a significant drop in pay whether it comes from Anaheim or someone else. At this stage of his career, he’s probably better off on the third line or lower so his salary will be more commensurate with that role. Worth noting, he is eligible to sign a contract with performance incentives as long as it’s a one-year contract. Such a structure would seemingly make sense for both sides as it would allow the Ducks to get him on a lower base rate but allow Getzlaf the opportunity to make more if his production rebounds next season. Either way, it certainly appears as if Getzlaf’s tenure in Anaheim might not be done just yet.