The case of Ryan Getzlaf is interesting in this sense: he’s one of very few players who can put up elite point totals every year without a lot of goal scoring. Here’s what I mean.
- From 2007-2013, there were 99 players in the NHL that played at least 5000 5v5 minutes. Getzlaf finished 91st among these 99 players in goals/60 minutes. That puts him behind players like Steve Ott and Dainius Zubrus. Of course, his assists totals are so elite (8th out of 99) that he ranks 38th in points/60 minutes on this list.
- Despite a solid 5v5 total, Getzlaf makes his hay on the power play: there were 90 players over that same time frame that had 1000 minutes on a 5v4 power play. Of those 90 players, Getzlaf was fifth in points/60 minutes, ahead of guys like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. That’s a bit ridiculous.
- These numbers, plus his great season so far this year, have helped Getzlaf be only one of 11 players with at least 480 points since 2007 and he actually has a better points/game rate than Joe Thornton and Daniel Sedin over that stretch.
for several years now, Getzlaf has been pretty good at 5v5 and elite on the power play. This has helped cement him as one of the top players in the NHL.
There are two common criticisms of Getzlaf that have pretty big fantasy implications:
- He doesn’t score often enough.
- He has Corey Perry finishing his passes which inflates his point totals.
Let’s start with the goals.
It may shock some people but in full NHL seasons (i.e. excluding the lockout-shortened season), Getzlaf has as many 20 goal seasons as not. In fact, if you pro-rate each of his seasons to an 82-game pace, the only season where Getzlaf wouldn’t have cracked 20 goals is 2011-2012, which was his worst season in the NHL since his rookie year of 2005-2006, posting 11 goals and 57 points in 82 games.
Despite the reputation, Getzlaf is an established 20 goal scorer. That might not seem impressive, but since 2007, Getzlaf is at 0.30 goals/game which puts him 42nd among players with at least 400 games played and there’s 130 of them. He’s not going to post elite goal scoring totals, but he’s not the black hole he’s made out to be sometimes.
Also, it should be noted that Getzlaf realizes that the best use of his talents is probably making other people around him better and that helps the team more than his goal scoring. He can score when he wants to: in the four seasons where he’s averaged at least 2.4 shots/game, he’s scored at least 24 goals. In every other season, it’s under 20 goals.
Of course, “making players better” can be a bit subjective. If it weren’t for this list of course. That link is Getzlaf’s Without/With you numbers from 2007-2012. The names he’s played the most with – by that I mean at least 900 minutes – include Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Kunitz, Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, Cam Fowler.
The only teammate on that list of Getzlaf’s who had both their CorsiFor% and GoalsFor% drop when not playing with Getzlaf was Beauchemin, and his CorsiFor% dropped over five percent while his GoalsFor% rate remained constant. Getzlaf’s GoalsFor% without Beauchemin skyrocketed from 44% to 58.1%.
To a man, every one of Getzlaf’s teammates have been much better with him than without him. He can score goals, sure, but he doesn’t need to. And the numbers are there to prove it.
So maybe when he’s not with some of those teammates, he’s just riding the shooting of Corey Perry, right?
This is certainly possible. From 2008-2013, Getzlaf and Perry were pretty much as bad without each other as the other player was. So while it’s fair to say that Getzlaf wouldn’t have as much success were it not for Corey Perry, it’s also fair to say the same about Perry with regards to Getzlaf. Of course, there is a small sample size to worry about as over the course of that time, Getzlaf essentially only played about a half season’s worth of five on five time away from Perry.
That’s not a terrible thing either. These are two guys who have developed an incredible level of chemistry together through several years of hockey together.
It should be noted that back in 2007-2008, Getzlaf went on a hot streak away from Perry so if you go back another year, the evidence tips in Getzlaf’s favor even more. Given, that is eight years ago now.
The ability for Getzlaf to play away from Perry shouldn’t even factor in to this, though. These guys are both signed for a lot of money past the year 2020.
The last concern is the age. Getzlaf is turning 29 in the spring and his foot speed could start slowing down. One thing that works in his favor is that Lockout II fell in line with his rookie year so he really only has about seven and a half full seasons of NHL play under his belt. There’s not much reason to think both he and Perry can’t be elite for a few more years.
In all, Getzlaf might be an elite NHLer but he’ll never be a truly elite fantasy roto option. He scores enough but not a lot – he still hasn’t had more than 30 goals in a season, though he can get there this year – and he doesn’t take a ton of shots. In points-only leagues though, this guy should be considered a top 15 forward for years to come.