On July 9th, the Anaheim Ducks announced that they will be retiring two players’ numbers as part of the 25th anniversary season celebrations. Paul Kariya and Scott Niedermayer‘s respective numbers will be immortalized in the rafters above Honda Center next to Teemu Selanne. There is someone else who may be more deserving that is being left out.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) July 9, 2018
Ducks Retired Numbers: The Tale of Two Captains
The two men have met on the ice as part of the biggest show in hockey. In 2003, Paul Kariya led his Mighty Ducks to the first Stanley Cup Final in club history. They went up against Scott Niedermayer and his New Jersey Devils. The Devils were lead by legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur. Both men are no doubt deserving to have their numbers retired.
Paul Kariya, the first real superstar the Mighty Ducks had on the ice. He was unstoppable during his time with the Ducks. He came onto the roster and immediately lead the Ducks in goals and points in his rookie season and was edged out of the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year by another legend in the making, Peter Forsberg.
Throughout the rest of his time in Anaheim, he played in two all-star games, never scored less than 25 goals when he was healthy for a full season. Breaking the 30, 40 and 50 goal plateaus in his nine seasons with the Ducks. After the heartbreaking 2003 Stanley Cup Final loss, he promised the Ducks and their fans a return trip to the finals the following season. He never made good on that promise, instead choosing to sign with the Colorado Avalanche that very off-season. His departure left many Ducks fans angry and upset. He finished his career in 2011 after stops in Nashville and St. Louis.
Scott Niedermayer signed with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2005 with one goal in mind. Winning the Stanley Cup with his brother Rob Niedermayer. He had a good first season with the Ducks, scoring 63 points while being named to the NHL first-team all-star team and making it to the Western Conference Final but ultimately falling to the Edmonton Oilers. In the 2006-07 season, he was joined by Chris Pronger and that was the winning combination. They defeated the Ottawa Senators in five games to win the cup and fulfilling his goal of winning the Stanley Cup with his brother. He continued to play with the Ducks until the end of the 2009-10 season. He has been a part of the Ducks organization since his retirement as a consultant and later a special teams coach.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) July 12, 2018
Who deserves it more?
Both men clearly deserve the honour, they both lead the team to the Finals. Niedermayer was successful in both appearances. Kariya regained some fan appreciation in recent years. Who deserves his number to be retired as much as, if not more then both of these men? Jean-Sebastian Giguere. Giguere was in the crease for both appearances, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP in 2003. He stuck with the Ducks while they found themselves, didn’t abandon ship when it got hard and left everything on the ice.
This is not to say that Niedermayer and Kariya don’t deserve to have their numbers retired but Giggy may deserve it more. Kariya didn’t fulfill his promise to lead the team back to the finals. He didn’t even try and went to Colorado instead. Niedermayer was definitely a missing piece of the puzzle but he didn’t struggle with the Ducks. He walked onto a team that was missing a few pieces and helped fill those holes. Giggy was there for it all. His performances and career in Anaheim are worthy of being remembered and honoured as well.
Main Photo: EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – JUNE 9: Paul Kariya #9 of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim looks to pass against the New Jersey Devils in game seven of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals at Continental Airlines Arena on June 9, 2003, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Ducks 3-0 to win the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI)