As a fellow baldy, I can relate to Ryan Getzlaf on one thing. The Ducks’ centre, all-star, and captain is losing his hair in his twenties. I know the feeling. But it’s not all bad, being bald. Actually, you get used to it and even grow to love it once you embrace a good clean shaven head.
Wheeling Clothing dot com tweeted the evolution of Ryan Getzlaf’s hair yesterday. The series of images span from Getzlaf’s draft year in 2003 when he had a full head of hair, all the way to 2013, a less fortunate era for Getzlaf’s hair line. While I’ll be the first to admit a hockey player’s hairline is hardly worthy breaking news, the tweet got me thinking (as a fellow baldy) Getzlaf is a really great player, I wonder which other amazing NHL players are balding. More on that in a bit. Tweet courtesy of @wheelingproblems
The Evolution of Ryan Getzlaf's hair: pic.twitter.com/907ThHeCCC
— Wheeling Problems (@wheelingprobs) October 22, 2013
Firstly, this is not an attempt to poke fun at Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks’ captain is a Stanley Cup winner in 07′, 90 point scorer in 2008-09, Olympic Gold medalist with Team Canada in 2010, and NHL All Star in 2008 and 2009. In other words, hair or no, Getzlaf is a great hockey player.
Aside from maybe a little more sweat in the eyes, Getzlaf’s baldness has no impact on his ability to dominate the NHL on most nights. Bald players can really play, in case you haven’t noticed. The 2nd highest scoring player in NHL history is notable bald athlete, Mark Messier.
That’s right, Messier’s 1,887 career points outshine the numbers posted by hair-heads such as Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic. Messier was a champion, too. No player since the 1970′s can compare with him at winning Cups.
While Getzlaf may be losing his hair, his place in hockey as one of the best centres in the business is undeniable. And Getz isn’t the only talented current player who doesn’t comb his hair after practice.
The 5 Best Bald NHLers
How much hair a hockey player has on his head is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, believe me, I am aware of this. However, baldness is a unique distinction nonetheless. Since there are lists and categorizations for everything these days (including an already existing list of the best bald players in hockey) why not another? The 5 Best Bald NHLers’ list will honour the game’s best baldies for their skills and achievements. No order – just straight up five great players.
Goaltender Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators
Last season, Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson led the entire NHL in save percentage, posting a near flawless (0.941). The Numbers speak for themselves. His 1.69 GAA also led the league, placing him higher on the individual stats list than many hair having netminders like Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur.
Anderson is off to a great start this season, as well. He occupies a spot on NHL.com’s first page for save percentage leaders at the moment, despite his team’s mediocre start to the season.
Goaltender J. S. Giguere of the Colorado Avalanche
J. S. Giguere of the Colorado Avalanche is the current NHL save percentage leader (0.981), not including goalies who have played only one game. Giguere is also bald.
At the moment, no goaltender in the National Hockey League is producing as well as Jiggy, but, his track record is even more impressive than his current numbers.
The Avs netminder won a Conn Smythe in 2003, providing one of the single best individual playoff performances in modern history. Back in the 03′ playoffs (then with the Ducks) Giguere posted a 1.62 GAA, 0.945 SV%, and winning record of 15-6, while accumulating 5 shutouts along the way. His Ducks didn’t win the Cup that year, making his playoff MVP achievement even more impressive.
In 2007, Giguere finally got his name scribed into the illustrious Stanley Cup, solidifying him as one of the best big game goaltenders of his generation. No surprise here – like Messier before him, another baldy is boss in the playoffs.
Defenceman Andrei Markov of the Montreal Canadiens
Andrei Markov is one of the game’s best defenceman, and he just so happens to be bald. The Habs ace on the blueline is quite simply the difference between winning and losing. He played last season, and the Habs finished first in the Northeast Division. In 2011-12, without Markov, his team suffered a much less favourable fate, concluding the season last place in the Eastern Conference.
Markov’s 92 career goals rank him fourth all time in Canadiens’ history, behind legends Larry Robinson (197), Guy Lapointe (166), and Serge Savard (100).
The Habs’ Russian defender is a two-time NHL All Star, and he finished 13th in Norris trophy voting last season, while providing much help to teammate, and Norris winner, P. K. Subban.
Defenceman Dennis Seidenberg of the Boston Bruins
Do you see a trend here? These bald players are fierce competitors and serious difference makers on their NHL teams.
Dennis Seidenberg is one of the mainstays on a Bruins defence corps that regularly dominates the league in goals against. At the moment, the Bruins lead the league in fewest goals allowed with 12.
Over the last three seasons the B’s have finished 3rd, 5th, and 3rd in team goals against. Throughout that span of regular season games Seidenberg has compiled a +72 rating. Think their defensive ways work? They’ve made the Stanley Cup finals in two of the last three seasons, winning the championship in 2011.
There are few unheralded stay-at-home blueliners in the league today who compete with the same consistent efficiency and professionalism – Dennis Seidenberg is one of the best defencemen in the NHL.
Centre Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks
Where do I start? Getzlaf is a superstar. The Ducks franchise centre won a Stanley Cup in 2007 with the above mentioned J. S. Giguere, and he hasn’t looked back since. In 21 playoff games as a twenty-two year old, Getzlaf was incredible, scoring 7 goals and 10 assists en route to Cup victory.
Through 565 career games he has recorded an astounding 530 points – he’s well on his way to hitting the 1,000 point milestone which places him in rare company among the game’s finest to ever lace up the skates.
Getzlaf’s game is reminiscent to that of Hall of Fame bald centre, Mats Sundin’s. Although Mats was more of a shooter than Ryan, the similarities are there. Both players are big fellas who protect the puck very well, leading to multiple scoring chances each night. Sundin is in the Hall of Fame. Getzlaf still has a long time to prove he belongs in the Hall but he’s making the most of that time by regularly finishing in the point-a-game range season after season. If the second half of his career is similar to the first half, he’ll be there.