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DUCK REPORT

Getzlaf Still in Hunt for Final Roster Spot

October 02, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

It is getting down to crunch time for Mighty Duck rookie Ryan Getzlaf and number-crunching time for General Manager Bryan Murray.

Getzlaf, the Ducks' first-round draft pick in June, has hung around longer than expected in training camp, battling Joffrey Lupul for the last spot on the roster. Getzlaf either makes the Duck roster next week -- meaning Murray has to sign him -- or is returned to his junior team in Calgary.

"It's difficult when you don't know where you are going to be next week, or in two days," Getzlaf said.

Getzlaf, 18, has extended his stay by scoring goals in the Ducks' last two exhibition games. Getzlaf, 6 feet 3 and 208 pounds, will get another chance to make his case tonight at Phoenix.

"Usually a coach goes to the draft to shake the hand of a kid he will never see again," Duck Coach Mike Babcock said. "By the time the player gets [to the NHL], the coach is long gone. I have my bags half packed all the time.

"Ryan has to keep showing me he can play at this level."

To keep Getzlaf, the Ducks must sign him, which would likely cost at least $1 million per season. Murray said there is room for a Getzlaf contract.

"The biggest thing if he stays here is the coach has to decide to play him," Murray said. "Obviously we like him and Lupul. We think they are both going to be good NHL players. We just have to decide what is best at this point."

Getzlaf is trying to make that decision for them.

"I just have to block everything else out of my mind and just play," Getzlaf said.

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Veteran forward Dan Bylsma was the only NHL player the Ducks left exposed for Friday's waiver draft. With Bylsma recovering from surgery on his left knee, it is unlikely another team will claim him.

Murray said it was doubtful that he would add a player via the draft.

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