Alain Chainey had a twinge in his heart this week when he heard the news: Ryan Getzlaf will be taking a well-deserved retirement at the end of the season. As of Thursday, he had reached 1,150 games, 1,013 points, a Stanley Cup in 17 years of loyal service to Anaheim.
Posted at 11:13 a.m.
“It also reminds me that I have grown old! joked the former recruiting director in Anaheim on the phone Thursday morning.
The Ducks captain proves that a single good draft draft can transform the destiny of an organization for the next fifteen years.
“With Corey Perry in 2003, these are two players who have marked the history of the Ducks, underlines Chainey, retired from his position in favor of Martin Madden son since 2012. They were always together. They played on the same line and they were even sent back to the American League together at the start of their career. They were called the twins. »
In their first ten years, the Ducks had missed the playoffs seven times, but in the spring of 2003 they had just reached the Stanley Cup Finals, a total surprise after finishing the season seventh overall and seventh in the West.
These successes remained fragile since they would miss the playoffs the following season with a season of 29-35-18 and the 22and rank in the general classification.
The seeding formula for the draft was different at the time. Playoff results were not taken into account. The Ducks therefore held the 19and choice of this rich vintage 2003.
The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, as they were called at the time, were aging at center with Adam Oates and Steve Rucchin.
Getzlaf was not unanimous among recruiters. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound center didn’t have a point per game in Calgary in the Western Junior League and many criticized him for dragging his feet too often.
But Alain Chainey, a former head coach at Beauport and Victoriaville in the QMJHL, nevertheless ranked Getzlaf high on his list. “Getzlaf was fifth or sixth on our lists and Perry was in the top ten. For a host of reasons, they’ve been ignored by many teams. I know a lot of scouts had their doubts about Getzlaf, but when we went to see him play he was always good. When he decided he was the best on the ice, he really was the best on the ice. His work habits did not scare us because he showed character on the ice. »
The closer Anaheim got to its selection round, the more nervous our man got. At 15and rank, Bryan Murray (the GM at the time, now deceased) started to get nervous too, but for other reasons. He proceeded to ask Chainey and his group if Getzlaf was in trouble off the ice because he was fifth on their roster and no one had drafted him in the top 16. But Chainey would not budge, if Getzlaf was free at 19and rank, Anaheim would make a big mistake to pass it up.
The Mighty Ducks had no other first-round picks, but an additional second-round pick obtained in the trade of Teemu Selanne to the San Jose Sharks two years earlier. Bryan Murray accepted Chainey’s proposal and gave up this choice, at 36and row, and the second, at 54and rank, to the Dallas Stars to get the 28and choice, at the end of the first round, and draft a certain Corey Perry.
He had just had a season of 78 points in 67 games with the London Knights, but he was criticized for his slowness on skates. So that’s why he was still available so late in the first round.
But Perry almost never played a single game in Anaheim. A few months later, in the fall, Murray signed a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. He traded his 2004 first-round pick and Perry to get center Mike Comrie, 23, on strike after a season of 51 points in 60 games.
Chainey nearly passed out upon hearing the news. But Bryan Murray was saved in spite of himself. The Mighty Ducks owner scrapped the deal because he refused to pay Comrie the $1 million signing bonus that the Oilers demanded…
Comrie was eventually traded to the Arizona Coyotes for young defenseman Jeff Woywitka and a first-round pick (Rob Schremp). Comrie never had the career he hoped for. At 30, he was no longer in the NHL.
The Ducks would reach the semi-finals in 2006 and win the Stanley Cup the following year. They reached the Western Conference Finals three more times over the next decade.
Getzlaf and Perry are in the top five of this vintage, one of the best in NHL history, in terms of points, with 1013 for Getzlaf, second behind Eric Staal, and 851 for Perry, fifth after Patrice Bergeron and Joe Pavelsky.
An unforgettable memory
In his bank of souvenirs, Alain Chainey has a jersey signed by Getzlaf when he represented Canada with the elite of the National League. And there is also this moment, forever imprinted in his mind. “We had just won the Stanley Cup. I had placed myself in a corner of the locker room with the trainers so as not to be sprayed with champagne, Chainey recalls. Getzlaf saw me in the distance and he came to see me with a smile from ear to ear: “I remember once you waited for me after a game in Prince-Albert (in the junior ranks). I hadn’t played well three days before in Calgary and you paid me quite a bit! I still remember that one!”. He and I had a good relationship. »
Succession in Anaheim
Alain Chainey not only unearthed two pearls for the Mighty Ducks in 2003, he prepared his successor by attracting to Anaheim one, if not the best in his profession now, Martin Madden Jr.
“I had known him for a long time,” Chainey said. At the time he was a scout for the Carolina Hurricanes. Everywhere I went in the arenas, we always passed each other. It’s funny because scouts usually stand at the ends of the ice to watch a game. I don’t feel comfortable there. I was always placed near the red line to better see the work of the defenders of both teams. Martin was like me. We were almost bickering to get the best place along the red line! In Chicoutimi, in the old arena, it was very difficult to get the right “spot” on the red line. I always tried to get there before him! »
When Chainey decided to downsize in 2008, he offered his boss Bob Murray the name Madden. “He didn’t really know Martin. Most of his contacts were in the Chicago Blackhawks organization. Eventually, after talking to just about everyone, Bob called me back and he decided to hire Martin. »
In recent years, Madden Jr. has drafted a certain Trevor Zegras, among others. Getzlaf can retire quietly, his succession is assured…
From bad to worse for the Golden Knights
Despite their best efforts to achieve short-term success, it smells scorched for the Vegas Golden Knights. Their 5-1 net loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, at home to boot, hurts their quest for a playoff spot. Vegas finds itself only one point behind the Dallas Stars, the last qualified club, but they have only ten games left to play while Dallas still has thirteen to play.
Their new acquisition, Jack Eichel, hasn’t hurt since returning with 18 points, including 10 goals, in 24 games, but Vegas is 11-12-1 since joining. 25-year-old winger Alex Tuch, 25, one of the players obtained by the Sabers in the trade, has 31 points in 39 games, youngster Peyton Krebs, 21, has 18 points in 37 games and Buffalo also holds first-round picks in 2022 and second-round picks in 2023. If the season ended today, the Sabers would draft 16and rank with the Vegas pick. Buffalo is 10-4-3 since the start of March.
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