In just four days, Ryan Getzlaf will turn 32 years old. While that’s not really too old in the grand scheme of things, for a hockey player, that’s supposed to be the start of your decline. And for Getzlaf, at the beginning of the year it looked like it was.
Four years ago, Getzlaf ended the season with an astonishing 87 points in 77 games. Breaking the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career, Getzlaf had arguably his most productive season of his career. And as he finished second in the voting for the Hart Trophy, Getzlaf was considered to be one of the top players in the league. But the following season would seem him take a step back, playing in the same amount of games yet scoring 17 less points. 70 points was still very good but Getzlaf also saw his ice time and shot attempts drop, a troubling sign that would further continue into the next season. Once again playing in 77 games, Getzlaf ended the 2015-16 campaign with only 13 goals and 50 assists. Failing to even break the 20 goal mark and seeing him average the lowest amount of ice time per game over the past nine years, Getzlaf seemed to be on a downward slide as he entered into his 30s.
But this season marked an incredible resurgence for the star center, as Getzlaf carried the Anaheim Ducks into the postseason on the heels of an almost point-per-game season. Tallying 73 points in only 74 games, Getzlaf wound up finishing with the 13th most points in the NHL and was one of the hottest players in the league towards the end of the year. In his last 25 games, Getlzaf notched 34 points while ending the season on a five-game point streak.
But Geztlaf wasn’t done yet, as he’s taken his dominance to the postseason. Playing a big part in the Ducks’ sweep over the Flames, Getzlaf tallied three goals and two assists in the series, recording the game-winning goal in Game 2 and skating in over 25 minutes of ice time in Game 4. And now that the Ducks are fighting for their payoff lives against the Oilers, Getzlaf has only been better. With 10 points in the series, Getzlaf has scored in all but one of the games, recording four multi-point games and playing a key part in the Ducks comeback win in Game 5. In total, through just nine games, Getzlaf has 15 points, one behind Evgeni Malkin for the most in the postseason so far. But out of all forwards in the playoffs, Getzlaf leads with the most average time on ice per game, being leaned on heavily by the Ducks to lead them to postseason success.
Despite relative struggles to put up his usual superstar numbers over the past few seasons, Getzlaf has been one of the Ducks most valuable players throughout the entire year, and especially in the postseason. He may not be getting any younger but that hasn’t stopped him from dominating this year.