Last Line Of Defense

ARTHUR:
If you're a Ducks fan hoping to see the team ice a functional blueline next year, then you are one of two things right now: a) anxious because Bob Murray hasn't made 'his move' yet and you fear all the cute puppies are being adopted behind the scenes or b) terrified that Bob Murray HAS made 'his move' and thus contemplating the disaster that is the Visnovsky, Lydman, Wisniewski plus-Boyntons Era. The latter is certainly possible, by the way. For those hoping we would 'replace' Niedermayer using Niedermayer's money, it's worth noting that Visnovsky still makes 6M on his 5.6M cap hit this year, and if Murph signs Wisniewski to a 4M deal and picks up a Boynton, he's officially spending as much on defense as he did last year.

But assuming the other shoe has yet to drop, and that that shoe is a formidable defenseman 6'2" or taller, trade seems like the most viable option, especially for Murray, who has proven with the Ducks that he refuses to write overpaid contracts himself but is perfectly willing to acquire them by trade. And by trade, Murph could acquire defensemen like Sheldon Souray, Kevin Bieksa and Tomas Kaberle. Who knows who else enters the conversation if Bobby Ryan is involved? I realize that Murray has sycophantically guaranteed the fanbase that he won't trade the youngster, but the GM is also soundly winning the press war, to the point that one rejected 4 yr./21.2M offer would probably make most Ducks fans okay with waving goodbye to their once-prized pick.

For today, though, I'll go in another direction and say, what if we became players in the RFA market? As I said above, Murray doesn't like to overpay, and as we don't have our third-rounder, we would be limited to 3M/year offers to players like Nicklas Grossman. That's not a bad use of a second-round pick in my opinion, but the more attractive option is of course to re-acquire our third-round pick from Toronto and go after players like Marc Staal.

Would we have to overpay to acquire a guy who can't see eye to eye with the Rangers? Definitely, but that's a solid (perhaps job-saving) acquisition for a GM who's turned the Ducks into a bubble team in the standings, not to mention what it would do to round out a Top 4 whose average height is currently below 6-foot.

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