10 greatest Anaheim Mighty Ducks players
During the 12 seasons as a Disney-influenced NHL brand, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks had a number of outstanding players appear on the roster. The early struggles of the team resulted in a number of high draft picks. Patience paid off with their selections, and many of those players appear on this list.
The top two members on this list, who are two of the top players in franchise history, are both going to the Hockey Hall of Fame this year. It is fitting that they will be inducted during the 25th anniversary season of the Anaheim franchise, as the team will already be the topic of discussion leading up to the Nov. 13 ceremonies.
Based on performances during the first 12 seasons of the franchise’s existence, these are the top 10 Anaheim Mighty Ducks players of all time.
10. Ruslan Salei
Anaheim selected Salei ninth overall in the 1996 draft. He went on to represent the franchise for 594 games, the most by any defender during the Mighty Ducks era.
Salei, who tragically perished in the 2011 Yaroslavl Lokomotiv plane accident, added 105 points during his Ducks tenure.
9. Fredrik Olausson
Olausson spent three separate stints with the Mighty Ducks, logging 244 games over cumulative five seasons in Anaheim. The Swedish blueliner scored 127 points during his tenure, including 16 goals and 40 assists for 56 points in a career campaign of 1998-99.
8. Petr Sykora
Sykora spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Mighty Ducks, logging 131 points in 197 games.
He also scored one of the most noteworthy goals in Mighty Ducks history, clinching Game 1 of the 2003 Western Conference semifinals in the fifth overtime period against the Dallas Stars. That goal proved to give Anaheim momentum, as it went on to win the next game in OT as well, then the series in six.
7. Matt Cullen
Cullen has bounced around quite a bit during his NHL career, representing eight different franchise. But his six seasons were in Anaheim, and remain the most he’s spent with any team.
Cullen appeared in 427 games with the Mighty Ducks, scoring 65 points and added 135 helpers for 200 points. In his final full season with Anaheim (2001-02), he placed second behind Paul Kariya for the team lead with 48 points.
6. Scott Niedermayer
Niedermayer only played one season during the Mighty Ducks era, but it was an outstanding one. He scored 13 goals and added 50 assists for 63 points during 82 games in the regular season. Those titles tied the grizzled blueliner for second on the team in helpers and placed him at No. 3 on the points leaderboard.
He followed this up with 11 points in 16 playoff games en route to the Western Conference final.
5. Oleg Tverdorsky
The Mighty Ducks selected Tverdorsky with the second overall pick in the 1994 draft. This was the highest pick the team ever held, and they definitely made the most of it.
Tverdorsky spent two stints with the Mighty Ducks, totaling 324 games over five nonconsecutive seasons. As a testament to his stamina, he dressed for all 82 of the team’s games in 1999-00 and 2000-01, which he also did in two seasons for Phoenix.
He also scored 170 points during this time in Anaheim, an impressive mark for a blueliner.
4. Steve Rucchin
Rucchin played all but two of his 12 NHL seasons in Orange County. He played 616 games with the team, the most among all Anaheim Mighty Ducks players. He scored 432 points over this time.
Production-wise, and therefore attention-wise, Rucchin was usually in the shadows of Kariya, Teemu Selanne and Sykora. But with that said, he often gave the Ducks a crucial second wave of offense. In one key moment, Rucchin scored the deciding goal in overtime to sweep the Red Wings in the first round of the 2003 playoffs.
3. Jean-Sebastian Giguere
Giguere’s performance in the 2003 playoffs is one of the most outstanding by a goalie in NHL history. He went 15-6, including and a perfect 7-0 in overtime, on that ride. His 1.62 goals-against average and .945 save percentage made him the most recent Conn Smythe winner from a runner-up team.
This performance alone would be enough to earn a spot on this list, but Giguere also won 112 regular-season games in 267 appearances over five seasons with the Mighty Ducks. His record, along with his individual goaltending numbers, were not too shabby considering Anaheim only made the playoffs twice in that stretch.
2. Teemu Selanne
Selanne remains the overall point leader in Anaheim franchise history. For the purposes of this ranking, he had 572 points in 474 games with the Mighty Ducks logo on his chest. That chalks to an average of 1.21 notches per night.
Teemu led the league in goals twice while a member of the Mighty Ducks, scoring 52 in 1997-98 and 47 in 1998-99. He also tallied over 100 points twice during his tenure. He will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year, along with the top member of this list.
1. Paul Kariya
Kariya was the first entry-draft selection in Mighty Ducks history. He played nine seasons with the franchise, scoring 669 points in 606 regular-season games, tops among any Anaheim player during the Disney era.
Though undersized, the captain was a strong player in the postseason as well. His defining moment was his memorable goal in Game 6 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, which earned the second spot on our list of the greatest Mighty Ducks moments.