Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is having a tough season.
His team is fifth in the Pacific Division, on the outside looking in on the race for the playoffs. He has just three goals through the halfway point of the season, with a 3.7 shooting percentage.
Most notably, perhaps, is that his mistakes with the puck have often cost his team a goal.
Ryan Getzlaf is one of the best passers in the league. It is no secret that he loves to pass, and in terms of assists he is on pace for 47, two higher than last year’s total of 45. However, opposing teams have started to prey on Getzlaf’s tendency to pass, and it’s costing Anaheim goals.
Most memorably was an overtime drop pass Nov. 9 against Arizona that Mikkel Boedker intercepted and buried in the Anaheim net for the win.
Other examples include this play the other night vs. Ottawa and this eventual game winner Jan. 9 vs Detroit. Those are just from the past week.
Getzlaf has been accused of playing a sort of casual game, meaning he likes to slow things down and control the play. This has been a weakness this season with the ever-increasing speed of the NHL game, teams have been quick to identify when Getzlaf’s options are limited and pounce.
The Anaheim captain has shown his frustration with the way this season has been going, fighting twice and taken a few unnecessary penalties.
Unnecessary penalties like this one against Chicago which, you guessed it, cost his team a goal, letting the Hawks back in the game to eventually win in overtime. Getzlaf’s occasionally been known to lose his temper and/or drop the mitts, but this season it seems every time he does so it ends up costing the Ducks.
Critics around the league have called Getzlaf’s leadership into question, with the most extreme demanding he be stripped of the “C.”
Not so Fast
Despite all of this, Ryan Getzlaf has still been a driving force behind the Anaheim offense, as weak as it has been. In the 17 Anaheim wins, he has 3 goals and 19 assists for 22 points, compared to 0 goals and 5 assists in 22 regulation and OT/SO losses.
He has shown that he is still an elite passer, and when his line gets the cycle set up they are still one of the best in the league.
However, Anaheim will only go as far as the captain will take them. Getzlaf needs to lead by example and consistently take control of games if the Ducks want to crawl back into a playoff spot.