According to a well-placed source in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization with first-hand knowledge, the Penguins inquired about Anaheim Ducks captain and franchise center Ryan Getzlaf. The source spoke with Pittsburgh Hockey Now before the Jeff Carter trade broke on late Sunday night and the Penguins trade interest as of Monday is not known.
The source said Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke very recently called Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray to express interest in Getzlaf. If Anaheim were to make Getzlaf available, the Penguins wanted a chance. The 35-year-old Getzlaf is a free agent after this season. He and Murray have mutually expressed expectation that he would return for next season.
Getzlaf is the Anaheim all-time leader in assists, games played, and playoff points. He is the franchise’s second leading scorer behind Teemu Selanne. Getzlaf has 965 points (274g, 691a) in 1053 career games, all with Anaheim.
Penguins trade talks did not ensue after Burke’s initial call as the Penguins were waiting to hear back from Anaheim about Getzlaf’s availability. The Penguins would eventually need to do significant salary cap juggling if they acquired Getzlaf. According to PuckPedia.com, the Penguins have about $9.1 million of salary-cap space but that includes the LTIR exemptions for Kasperi Kapanen, Brandon Tanev and Evgeni Malkin.
Getzlaf has an AAV of $8.25 million.
Getzlaf and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby have been teammates several times in the past. Getzlaf was a member of Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championships, a Canadian Olympic team member in 2010 and 2014.
Crosby, of course, scored the “Golden Goal” at the 2010 WInter Olympics in Vancouver.
At the 2020 NHL trade deadline, the Penguins waited for former San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau to be available before giving San Jose a third-round pick.
Marleau returned to San Jose as a free agent. Getzlaf could do the same and return to Anaheim as a UFA in the summer haven taken a shot at the Stanley Cup with the Penguins.
This season, Getzlaf has three goals and 12 assists in 36 games. Anaheim is not a contender to make the playoffs.
There was chatter in hockey circles several weeks ago that Getzlaf would not waive his no-movement-clause and wanted to finish his career in Anaheim. Our Off the Record column chronicled the talk. However multiple insiders speculated to PHN if there was one person who could pry him out of Anaheim, it would be former Ducks GM, now Penguins President of Hockey Operations, Burke.
According to additional sources, as of Sunday morning Getzlaf had not been asked to waive his no-movement-clause.
Burke and Getzlaf won the 2007 Stanley Cup together in Anaheim. Getzlaf was a fresh-faced second-year pro player who split the previous season between the AHL and NHL. He was the Anaheim first-round pick (19th overall) in 2003.
While Carter has exclusively played RW exclusively this season in LA, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound Getzlaf is a pure center. Pending the Penguins health situation, a Penguins trade for another center may be necessary. Evgeni Malkin is working his way back to the lineup and has been skating in Pittsburgh while the Penguins completed the six-game road trip. Teddy Blueger returned to the lineup on Sunday night.
But Frederick Gaudreau played last season in the AHL and began the 2020-21 season in the minors, too. He’s been a pleasant surprise, but was injured in the second period on Sunday night. Gaudreau has leapfrogged Mark Jankowski on the center depth chart.
The Penguins have been one of the most injured teams in the NHL this season.
The NHL trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m. The live PHN blog and recap of the Sunday night frenzy which included the Carter trade and Taylor Hall to Boston will be up by 9 a.m.