Big-3 Break Up? [Editorial]
Imagine a world in which the Anaheim Ducks no longer have “The Big 3”, a triumvirate of elite power forwards — Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan — that has been a part of the team for nearly a half-decade.
Now imagine I’m not crazy and let me elaborate.
I wonder about Getzlaf and Perry sometimes. Are they really best buddies? The image of them being “The Twins” has been projected by the fans and media in Orange County for so long that it seems almost tautological they would both remain Ducks for life. But I have a funny feeling that, for Perry at least, being in Anaheim for the rest of his career may not be in the cards.
Let me say this: I love Corey Perry. Bobby Ryan may be my favorite player, but Perry is an extremely close second. Ryan Getzlaf? I admire him greatly for his talent, which I consider to be all-world, but I can’t stand the fact that he doesn’t work for it every shift (it being any number of things that prove demonstrable work ethic). If he did, he could produce like Sidney Crosby. Who knows?
Getzlaf, however, remains a rare player. That is not a slight to Perry or Ryan, but Getzlaf’s combination of size and skill stand above. Because of that, I would consider him the only truly untouchable player in trade talks.
It is interesting to contemplate Bob Murray pulling off a surprise trade — one that would mimic the actions of Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren last summer when he dealt team cornerstones Mike Richards and Jeff Carter on the same day. Moving a name like Perry would certainly pull in some great young talent that the Ducks could use as a major building block for the future.
At this point, I think we’ll have to wait for the 2013 trade deadline before we find out what the Ducks true intentions are.
But I wouldn’t be doing my job unless I tried to deduce what they may be.
I suspect Getzlaf will be re-signed at any cost. His having started a family here is a huge factor in that premise. Perry’s personal life, on the other hand, is a bit harder to interpret. Regardless, seeing them both sign similar contracts (again) wouldn’t be a huge surprise — I’d consider it the most likely scenario.
The very idea of free agency, however, is enough to make their agents salivate. While both of them re-signing is a likely outcome, but it’s far from a guarantee. Stranger things have happened.
Meanwhile, the Ducks have Bobby Ryan locked up for three more years at a discount. He will not be moved. I don’t ever see it happening. His production vis-à-vis his salary is too great a bargain for the Ducks to forfeit. Of course Murray will listen to offers for him. He would be stupid not to because it’s his job. Unless his proverbial socks are blown off though, it’s hard to imagine him pulling the trigger.
All of the above is contingent on how the Ducks’ prospects develop. Kyle Palmieri is most likely going to become a big contributor. Emerson Etem has the potential to be a game-changer down the line. Then there’s Nick Bonino, who looks to be settling nicely into the role of a full-time NHLer. Peter Holland is doing his part by shredding the AHL, too.
These are some of the many non-financial factors that will play into the ultimate decision of who stays and who goes. I can envision a situation where our prospects jump in and contribute, and that leaves the Ducks with a productive Palmieri and Etem on cheap entry-level deals: bargain city, a perfect scenario for the team.
In that situation, it’s not a stretch to think that all of the big-3 are retainable. Perhaps the biggest x-factor in all of it will be whether or not the Ducks can address their lack of depth at the center position, either through in-house options or through free agency.