In choosing between a secure future in Anaheim or venturing into the unknown as a free agent this summer, Ryan Getzlaf didn't demand that the Ducks construct their team around him.
“It's more about building in general,” he said. “As long as we're building, moving forward, everybody's happy, including myself. That's always been the goal — to keep winning and be part of an organization that's willing to do that.”
Assured by owners Henry and Susan Samueli and General Manager Bob Murray the club would spend the money to be competitive — and reassured about their talent by the team's formidable start — Getzlaf on Friday signed an eight-year, $66-million contract extension through 2020-21. It includes a no-move clause that kicks in immediately.
“It's always been my goal to be here. I've always envisioned myself playing for one team,” Getzlaf said a few hours before he contributed an assist — his 500th NHL point — and a goal to the Ducks' 4-0 victory over Calgary at the Honda Center.
“Especially this organization. It's been great to me. It's nice to be settled in and know that I'm going to be here for a long time.”
In beating the Flames at home for the 16th straight time, the Ducks displayed the strengths Getzlaf saw in deciding to stay. Getzlaf scored for the third straight game and increased his point total to 29, among the league leaders. The Ducks (17-3-3) stand No. 2 overall in the NHL and have won 10 straight home games, the longest home streak in the league this season.
Goaltender Viktor Fasth stopped 29 shots to earn his second career shutout. Jonas Hiller had blanked Phoenix on Wednesday, making this the first time the Ducks recorded consecutive shutouts with two different goalies.
Getzlaf's new contract is the longest and most lucrative given by the Ducks. Paul Kariya was paid the biggest single-season salary in club history when he got $10 million a year in four straight seasons.
Eight years is the maximum length teams can sign players under the new collective bargaining agreement, and only when retaining their own players. The average annual value of Getzlaf's contract, $8.25 million, would tie for fourth in the NHL this season behind Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, the Pittsburgh duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Carolina's Eric Staal.
“It was a priority for the organization. It's a big day for us,” Murray said of re-signing the 27-year-old center. “He wanted to stay if we were going to try to compete and win and we promised we would, and it's a really good step in the right direction for this organization.”
It surely helped the Ducks that Getzlaf's wife, Paige, is from Orange County. However, Murray has no such edge in trying to keep right wing Corey Perry from becoming a free agent. Their chances of re-signing him seem iffy, even though they should have enough salary-cap space after the limit drops to $64.3 million next season.
Perry, the NHL's most valuable player in 2010-11, has long been Getzlaf's friend and linemate. But Perry wasn't willing Friday to commit to continuing their on-ice collaboration.
“Getzy and I have talked a bunch of times. I'm not going to sit here and say yes or no,” Perry said. “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.” He added, “It helps when you know he's going to be here for a long time. It could definitely have an effect on my issues.”
Teammate Teemu Selanne hopes Perry will stay too.
“When you find somebody to play with who has so much chemistry as Getzy and Perry, for me it would be just crazy to go somewhere else when you have almost everything what you really need,” Selanne said. “I can't see why this place couldn't be a happy place for both of them for a long, long time. But that's not me. It's up to them.”
Anaheim was a happy place for all of the Ducks on Friday. Daniel Winnik snapped home his first goal in 19 games off a pass from Andrew Cogliano at 1:15 of the first period, Perry and Getzlaf set up Bobby Ryan for a 2-0 lead at 13:38 of the second period, and a Sheldon Souray slap shot made it 3-0 at 15:52. Getzlaf finished the scoring from close range at 16:18 of the third period.
“It brings stability to our organization for a long time,” Winnik said of Getzlaf's signing.