Gameday thread is below this post
Anaheim calling to the hockey world...
Since Brian Burke's departure, the hockey media has generally marveled at Bob Murray's management of the Ducks' assets. Like Burke, many of these opportunities came to him: Anaheim was a natural consideration for Koivu after being shut out of Montreal, and who doesn't want Chris Pronger? But Murray showed he could make some major deals at last year's trade deadline, calling in some old Blackhawk favors, unloading pending free agents and picking up quality prospects and RFA's. Still, for whatever reason, Murray has built a team much less stable than that of his predecessor. And just as the media wondered if Carlyle would be fired because Murray didn't hire him, because Carlyle wasn't Murph's choice, should they now wonder if Henry Samueli will fire Bob Murray for not being the recently reinstated owner's choice?
Daniel, I've recently made the joke that it's time for Samueli to fire Murray and give him some backdated stock and an autographed 8x10 glossy of Wendel Clark as a severance package. But assuming that longtime Duck figure (and one of last year's most popular GM job interviewees) David McNab would take his place, should Samueli fire Bob Murray before the general manager moves more of the Ducks assets this season?
I think we should consider getting rid of Murray. As you just said, Koivu was pretty much going to come here no matter what. All Murray did was recycle Burke's first Chris Pronger deal. And the additions of Wisniewski and Whitney, in my opinion, pale greatly to the potential of Nick Bonino. Looking at today's roster, Murray's work has led to the acquisition of Nokelainen, Wiz, Whitney, and Christensen, as well as potential assets Bonino and Pielmeier, while losing Tangradi, O'Dell, the entire 2007 stopper line, and Beauchemin. Why we can pay Wisniewski's crazy string of penalty killing mistakes 2.75 million and not pay Beauchemin 3.8 is beyond my powers of comprehension. My main problem when looking at Murray's body of work is he was so hell-bent on getting something that he seemed to take anything. Look at the trade with Chicago. Pahlsson was still a terrific defensive asset. A little more effort and maybe we get a sturdier Cam Barker or Brent Seabrook.
When you look at the defensive situation this year you see a little bit of the same problem. Murray took a shotgun approach, and decided that if he brought enough D-men to camp, then Carlyle would just pick the right one. Eminger has been a pleasant surprise and Boynton is working out...I guess, but would it have killed him to get some size on the blue line? I would have liked a proven stay at home stopper. Yes, the man was aggressive and did seize a few good players. The problem is, I'm not sure they are the right players. Murray has put Carlyle into a bad situation by just acquiring players instead of acquiring key players who fit the system. As a result, Carlyle has been scrambling to make this golem of a team function.
I shudder to think what Tampa Bay will get with our 3rd Round pick after we let Artyukhin walk for taking a record 8 million penalties in the offensive zone. If I felt like there was some plan to what Murray was doing, then I'd be willing to give him a little more time to work it out, but right now, I say bring on McNab and let's see if we can get the team going in the right direction.
I realize that while Murray wasn't Samueli's choice, McNab was no one's choice. He's just a part of the Pond at this point, grown into it like Bootstrap Bill Turner into the Flying Dutchman. But I really think he's earned this job. He's respected in the league for what he's done and for what his father did, and he's respected amongst the players for having been a part of the Ducks organization since the supplemental draft. He deserves this shot, and not just because so many organizations seemed willing to give him one last year.
Now if we go to McNab, then we'll probably have to say goodbye to my dreams of acquiring Duncan Keith, not to mention the advantages of having a GM with at least SOME ties to an NHL organization that is not Anaheim, but we'd be making some effort to turn this ship around. I've said before that despite Murray's years as a pro scout, we've pretty much gotten Beauchemin, Bertuzzi and Morrison from his experience. One out of three IS bad. The players McNab has given us are too numerous to mention (but let's say Rucchin, Trnka, Tverdosky, Lecerlc, Salei, Cullen, McDonald, Kunitz, Penner, and Carter for starters). One could argue that this team has always been McNab's team, helplessly imbued with his vision for the hockey club, and now that we're getting a taste of Murray's vision, I think we need to give the ship back to its rightful captain.
Can McNab sign Bobby Ryan on the cheap? Can he make a deadline deal? I would think that after 16 years holding the proverbial clipboard, he can run a play or two. One thing is certain: there is a lot of rebuilding on the horizon. With so much of this team's future riding on how we manage this year's assets and acquisitions, I don't see how Samueli can leave this team in the hands of a man who has managed to miscalculate us into last place in the West in just one year.