Two 1st round picks. Tons of prospects. Plenty of cap space. The #1 seed in the west. With everyone saying, "the Ducks are in the best position to add a player of any team."
And he does nothing? I literally talked about how this would happen, how Bob Murray has not made a significant trade for this team since taking over as GM, back at the very beginning of the season. And I asked if maybe ownership simply wasn't letting him.
In that timeframe (approximately), the biggest name addition Bob Murray has made is, I guess, Francois Beauchemin, in a huge overpayment that was done only to save money. Nothing else. No top-six forwards. No true star defensemen. Nothing. This is supposed to be a contending team, and yet, the complete opposite of the Sharks and the Kings, the biggest name involved in a Bob Murray trade has been a player going out, to shed salary, in Bobby Ryan, not a player coming in to actually make the team better.
But this was supposed to be the year. Two 1st round picks at the deadline. I repeat, two 1st round picks he had to deal. May I remind everyone that the Kings and Sharks never at any one point ever had two 1st round picks at their disposal during the seasons they made those trades I listed earlier, and yet they still managed to upgrade their lineups and add big-name, impact players.
I just don't understand it at all. If he didn't want to spend a 1st round pick on a rental (which by the way the Kings and Sharks have had no problem doing, and for lesser players than Vanek, like Dustin Penner for instance), then he should have gotten creative, as the Kings and Sharks have done many times before, and created a trade for an Evander Kane, or Jason Spezza, or Dustin Byfuglien, or Ryan Kesler, or Jordan Eberle, or Jeff Skinner, or Eric Staal, i.e. players with term left on their contracts, or someone else with term off the radar.
Or if he didn't want to do that, at least go with a budget option. Ales Hemsky for a 3rd and 5th round pick can't hurt you, and this is coming from someone who isn't even a big Hemsky fan. You at least make a move akin to what the Penguins did last year acquiring Jussi Jokinen at the deadline.
Or he could have avoided the need to spend any assets on a forward at the deadline if he'd simply done his job in the offseason after trading Bobby Ryan, and actually replaced him in free agency. From Jaromir Jagr to Clarke Macarthur to Michael Ryder to Damien Brunner to plenty of others I'm simply forgetting at this point since it's been about eight months since July, there were plenty of good options available at more than fair value.
I just don't understand it one bit. I'm a big Emerson Etem fan, and if he's gotten his legs back playing in the AHL, he will make a difference for us in the playoffs. I'm a big Rickard Rakell fan too, assuming they actually play him. And I think Sami Vatenen is a budding star defenseman, at times outplaying our best overall defenseman Hampus Lindholm, and overall our second best defenseman (yes even better than Beauchemin), so he's going to make a huge impact for us too.
Oops, he's in the AHL. I don't understand that one at all. No other NHL team has their second best (third best at the very least) defenseman playing in the minors. And we just traded for an old Stephane Robidas, who in a bubble would be a welcome addition as a bottom-pairing defenseman, but under these circumstances where we inexplicably re-signed the awful Mark Fistric for next year and didn't even seem to have room for Vatenen on the team before acquiring Robidas, all that does it give Bruce Boudreau another inferior defenseman to Vatenen to play ahead of him and keep Vatenen out of the lineup with, which Bruce has already shown with Fistric and now Sbisa that he's determined to do.
But outside of the inexplicable Vatenen situation, I have a positive outlook when it comes to Etem, and Rakell. I'm aware of the depth we have as an organization and all the good things this franchise has going for it. But this team was poised to win the Cup this year, with more assets than anyone else in the NHL to use to acquire a top player with (besides rebuilding teams like Buffalo who don't count), and I just can't for the life of me understand what in the world Bob Murray could have been thinking to not even end up trading for a cheap Hemsky or someone like that, let alone Thomas Vanek whose price declined all throughout the day, and who practically fell in our lap as Garth Snow was left with very few options to trade him to.
I just don't understand it at all. What could he have been thinking? Even Pittsburgh, with far less assets to move, added Lee Stempniak. I don't like Stempniak specifically but that's just another example of the type of cheap depth move you can make if you don't end up trading for the big fish. But to do neither, to do nothing... I will never understand what Bob Murray was thinking on this day. Either he or the scouts deserve credit for the drafting in recent years, but in terms of trades, signing players in free agency, and managing the actual NHL club, Bob Murray is a horrible, horrible, horrible NHL GM. Either that or ownership tied his hands again, after forcing that Bobby Ryan trade earlier in the year, which would again indicate that this franchise has a much bigger, more fundamental problem on its hands, handicapping the potential of this team.