The Anaheim Ducks wrap up their regular season Saturday night against the Phoenix Coyotes and by the time they hit the ice, they will likely know who they will be facing in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Anaheim’s turnaround from last season — from worst to first in the Pacific Division — doesn’t happen without some notable individual performances.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf will be part of the discussion for candidates for the league’s Most Valuable Player and the same goes for Francois Beauchemin when talking the Norris Trophy, handed out to the NHL’s top defenseman.
Entering the Ducks final game of the season, Getzlaf was the team leader in goals, assists and points. He has been in and around the top ten in league scoring all season, and was tied for second in points amongst all Western Conference scorers.
“I’ve always told Getzy, that he can be the best player in the league if he wants to be,” said teammate Teemu Selanne. “There is no question he is having an MVP type season.”
Getzlaf 20 minutes plus per game on the ice is the most for any Ducks forward. He plays in all situations and leads the team in shorthanded goals and is second on the team in both powerplay and game=winning goals. All this for a team who will finish as the number two seed in the conference as well as having the third best record in the entire NHL.
His main competition for the award will come from the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and the Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin.
Like Getzlaf, one of the biggest hurdles that Beauchemin faces is that he plays the majority of his games when most of the East Coast voters are sleeping. In addition, he doesn’t have the offensive flash of the Canadiens’ P.K. Subban or the Penguins’ Kris Letang, two players, often mentioned as leading candidates for the award.
What Beauchemin has is one of the most important attributes for a defenseman. He is a major factor in shutting down the opposition’s top players and a physical presence every time he is on the ice. Beauchemin’s five goals and twenty three points have him in the top 25 for points by a defenseman.
While many of the other candidates for the awards have their advantages, both Getzlaf and Beauchemin have maintained their consistency throughout the season, spearheading the Ducks’ turnaround.
Come awards time, we will see if the voters see it the same way.