NHL teams build their teams in many different ways. Some construct their clubs via free agency while others do it through trades. However, the main way teams create a roster is through the NHL Draft. Most years have maybe one or two players make the roster, but some years the general manager gets it right and gets a cornerstone or two for the franchise. The Last Word on Hockey is doing the best draft class for each team with the exception of the Seattle Kraken. Today we look at the Anaheim Ducks best draft class.
Anaheim Ducks Best Draft Class
2003 NHL Draft
We weighed the criteria of quantity versus quality when we came up with this series. Some years have a handful of players reach the show, but only briefly stick around. We went 2003 because then general manager Bryan Murray nailed his first two picks. He wouldn’t see the success they’d bring, but they were two all-time franchise greats. Both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will likely get their numbers retired at the Honda Center when they retire.
Ryan Getzlaf, 1st round, 19th overall
Anaheim took the former Calgary Hitmen forward with their first choice in the 2003 NHL Draft, which had one of the more talented classes since 1979. The Regina, Saskatchewan native played two more years with the Hitmen before going up to the then Mighty Ducks.
Getzlaf made his NHL debut in the 2005-06 and became a franchise fixture ever since. He’s been a consistent on both ends of the ice and was key in the team’s only Stanley Cup in 2007. Anaheim also has won six division titles in his tenure with the club. The 6-foot-4-inch centre finished second in the Hart Trophy voting in 2013-14 and has gotten Selke Trophy votes many times.
Getzlaf recently signed a one-year deal to stay with the club. The Anaheim captain has been a mainstay and will go down in Ducks’ lore as one of their best players.
Corey Perry, 1st round, 28th overall
The Mighty Ducks got a second first-round choice after a deal with the Dallas Stars and drafted Perry, who also made his debut in 2005-06. Perry was drafted from the London Knights and was also another big and talented forward.
He was also a key piece of the Ducks’ Cup-winning team in 2007 and has been important on both ends of the ice. The Peterborough, Ontario native scored 50 goals in 2010-11 and won the Hart Trophy as well as the Rocket Richard Trophy. He and Getzlaf are likely the first two Ducks players one would think of after Paul Kariya.
Perry is still contributing, but more as an experienced veteran with an edge to his game. He’s reached the final the last two years with Dallas and the Montreal Canadiens. He recently signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but will always be fondly remembered by Ducks fans.
Drew Miller (6th round, 186th overall);
Both Drew Miller and Shane O’Brien played over 500 games in the show, so that counts for something. Drew is the twin brother of recently retired Ducks’ goalie Ryan Miller. He last only two seasons in Orange County, but had a nice run with the Detroit Red Wings before calling it a career after 2016-17.
Shane O’Brien (8th round, 250th overall)
O’Brien stayed less than one full season with the Ducks before bouncing around the league. He did return to the organization in 2015-16, but accepted a role with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL. The Port Hope, Ontario native played overseas before calling it a career. He’s now a co-host of The Power Play on SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio.
Other Draft Classes
2011 NHL Draft
We almost went with this class, but Getzlaf and Perry were just too big to ignore. The early 2010s saw some pretty solid classes, but 2011 is the pick of the bunch. Anaheim snagged longtime contributors Rickard Rakell, John Gibson and Josh Manson with picks in that year’s draft. William Karlsson was also taken, but found success with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Gibson was a steal coming in the second round after being rated the top North American goalie in that year’s draft. Rakell has been a key forward has put up 30-goal seasons in the past while Manson has been solid on the defensive end.
2010 NHL Draft
Cam Fowler was the first pick for the Ducks that year, but their first five picks ended up playing over 100 games in the NHL. Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chris Wagner and Tim Heed all have 100 games under their belt. Smith-Pelly won a Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals while Wagner is a solid bottom-six player for the Boston Bruins.