By Allan Muir
Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray crossed one item off his to-do list today by signing team captain Ryan Getzlaf to an eight-year extension worth $66 million.
That's a significant commitment from the Ducks. The eight-year term is the max allowable under the new CBA and the annual cap of $8.25 million ties him for the fourth highest in the league, trailing just Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. That's pretty thin air for a player that put up career-low numbers last season and ranked among the year's biggest underachievers.
But Getzlaf has been among the most impactful players so far in 2013. His 27 points puts him among the league's top-10 scorers and he's been a consistent force for a Ducks team that has to be recognized among the few legitimate contenders for the Cup.
There'll still be plenty of voices suggesting this is an overpayment, but this feels like a case of a team paying to hold onto one of the best players in franchise history, and fearing the alternatives if they don't.
Yeah, $8.25 million is a chunky hit, especially with the cap going down next season to $64.3 million, but big, proven No. 1 centers like Getzlaf are hard to come by. If he'd gone to market as a UFA this summer, another team would have put up at least that much...and the Ducks would have had to settle for an inferior replacement. This was a much smarter option.
Now that Getzlaf is signed, Murray has one more decision to make: what to do about 2011 MVP and Rocket Richard winner Corey Perry.
Perry, like Getzlaf, is in the last year of a deal that is paying him $5.25 million. With Getzlaf off the market, he looks to be the premier UFA this summer. That's a nice position for any player to be in.
The smart money says the Ducks are willing to give Perry a similar deal to Getzlaf's. It's a lot to commit to two players--just over 25 percent of the total cap--but they have the room to make it work, especially if young prospects like Emerson Etem, Peter Holland and Hampus Lindholm are ready to step in and replace more expensive veterans next season.
But does Perry want to stay? And is he willing to accept a twinsie deal when he's had greater individual success than Getzlaf?
"Getzy and I have talked a bunch of times," Perry told the Orange County Register. "I'm not going to sit here and say yes or no [about being willing to sign a similar extension]. It's one of those things where I'll wait and see what happens. I'm not going to change my answer just because he signed."
But he did admit that knowing Getzlaf was on board was important. "When you know he's going to be here for a long time, it could definitely have a factor in my decision."
Perry wouldn't be a bad guy for wanting to test the market. But if he does, it puts Murray in a tough spot. Can he afford to trade him with the Ducks set up to make a deep postseason run? That would be a gutsy call, but can he afford to risk losing Perry for nothing over the summer?
You know the answer to that one.
And what about Bobby Ryan? The winger has been on and off the trade market for the past 18 months, and the Ducks may decide that the $5.1 million he's due for the next two seasons might be better spent elsewhere if Perry and Getzlaf both are going to be signed. You have to think that Ryan would also draw a premium on the market over a rental like Perry given that he's signed for the next two seasons. Moving him might be a precursor to committing to Perry. Murray deserves to take a victory lap after settling up with Getzlaf, but he shouldn't tire himself out. He still has work to do yet.