In Robby's excellent coverage of the State of the Franchise address, there was one subject that Ducks GM Bob Murray covered that really stood out to me:
He mentioned that the team is currently suffering due to bad drafts in '05, '06, and '07, but said that they've overhauled their drafting since then and have had three strong drafts in a row.
Wow. To me, that's a direct shot at Brian Burke and his legacy in Anaheim. Once Burkie left for Toronto and Murray assumed his position, the comparisons began. How can you not compare the guy that won your franchise their first Stanley Cup to the guy that took his place? The two will continue to be scrutinized until Murray delivers on a second Cup or leaves the organization (by choice or not).
I am an ardent Brian Burke supporter, and I refuse believe that Bob Murray is a better drafter. I am also completely ignoring the group of scouts each GM had. Each GM has the final say, so ultimately the decision is theirs. Throughout the week, I'll be looking at each year of Burke's drafts that Murray called into question and where they are at with the Ducks. To be fair, I'll also run a post of Bob Murray's draft picks from 2008 to 2011. Then you guys can make the final call on who was the better drafting GM.
Let's get started with Burkie's first draft in 2005. The NHL is returning after a year long lockout. The newly re-branded Anaheim Ducks were just one ping-pong ball away from drafting the sport's savior at first overall...
Notable non-Anaheim draftees: Sidney Crosby (#1), Jack Johnson (#3), Carey Price (#5), Devin Setoguchi (#8), Anze Kopitar (#11), Marc Staal (#12), Martin Hanzal (#17), Tuukka Rask (#21), TJ Oshie (#24), Andrew Cogliano (#25), James Neal (#33), Paul Stasny (#33), Mason Raymond (#51), Kris Letang (#62), Jonathan Quick (#72), Keith Yandle (#105), Niklas Hjalmarsson (#108), Darren Helm (#132), Cal O'Reilly (#150), Sergei Kostitsyn (#200), Patric Hornqvist (#230)
|1||2||2||Bobby Ryan (RW)|
|2||1||31||Brendan Mikkelson (D)|
|3||2||63||Jason Bailey (RW)|
|5||2||127||Bobby Bolt (LW)|
|5||16||141||Brian Salcido (D)|
Where Are They Now?
#2 Bobby Ryan (RW)
Player taken before and after: #1 Sidney Crosby (C - PIT) and #3 Jack Johnson (D - CAR)
Stats with Ducks (so far): 301 GP, 124 G, 109 A, 233 Pts, plus-31, 208 PIM in the regular season.
It took Bobby a little while to stick in Anaheim, a lot of which had to do with cap issues. I beg to differ that he was a bad pick in the draft considering who was out there. Sidney Crosby went number one and Jack Johnson went number three (I know, I don't believe that either). Needless to say, I am ardently in the Pro-Bobby Camp. My feelings about Bobby were summed up by Justin Bourne of The Backhand Shelf blog on The Score. When referring to Bobby being on the trading block, he said something to the effect of when ALL teams are calling to inquire, you should see the potential in the player. As of recently, Bob Murray was quoted as saying Bobby is off the table.
#31 Brendan Mikkelson (D)
Player taken before and after: #30 Vladimir Mihalik (D - TBL) and #32 Tyler Plante (G - FLA)
Stats with Ducks: 67 GP, 0 G, 5 A, 5 Pts, minus-6, 38 PIM
In November of 2006, Mikkelson was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract by then GM Brian Burke. He was up and down between the AHL and the big club almost the entire time. In 2010, Bob Murray extended a one-year, qualifying offer to Mikkelson that he accepted. The following October, still in 2010, Mikkelson was placed on waivers and subsequently picked off them by Calgary. Following an odd trend, Mikkelson was re-signed in July 2011 and in January was traded to Tampa Bay for Blair Jones. So far he's been in 3 games for the Lightning has 0 goals/assists/points/penalty minutes and is a plus-3.
#63 Jason Bailey (RW)
Player taken before and after: #62 Kris Letang (D - PIT) and #64 Joe Barnes (C - CAR)
Stats with Ducks: NONE!
Does that name sound familiar? It should. This is the guy that sued the Ducks for discrimination. Bailey alleged that coaches in the Ducks then minor league affiliate Bakersfield Condors discriminated against Bailey for being Jewish. The suit was eventually dropped. You can Google it to read more. As a player, the Ducks signed Bailey a three-year entry level deal in April of 2008. Prior to the deal, Bailey spent his time with the Ottawa 67's of the OHL and the University of Michigan, posting unremarkable numbers at both locations. In September of 2009, after 35 games with the Condors, scoring only 10 points, he was traded to Ottawa for left wing Shawn Weller.
#127 Bobby Bolt (LW)
Player taken before and after: #126 Tim Crowder (RW - PIT) and #128 Kevin Lalande (G - CGY)
Stats with Ducks: NONE!
In June 2010, the Ducks made qualifying offers to Brendan Mikkelson, James Wisnieski, and Bobby Ryan. Having filled their Bobby quota, the Ducks did not make a qualifying offer to Bobby Bolt, as well as Shawn Weller (acquired in the Jason Bailey trade above), and fellow 2005 draftee Jean-Philippe Levasseur. Bolt was left to explore free agency and finally signed with the Allen Americans of the CHL.
#141 Brian Salcido (D)
Player taken before and after: #140 Taylor Dakers (G - SJS) and #142 Nathan Gerbe (C - BUF)
Stats with Ducks: 2 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pts, plus-2, 0 PIM
In August 2006, Salcido was signed to the standard three-year, entry-level deal after his junior season at Colorado College. Salcido was the feel good story of the draft for the Ducks because he hailed from Hermosa Beach. Following the expiration of his entry level deal, the GM Bob Murray signed Salcido to a one year deal in July 2009. He made his NHL debut on February 20, 2009, played two games, and then was allowed to become a free agent following the end of the 2009-2010 season. Currently Salcido is playing in the Finnish Elite League.
#197 Jean-Philippe Levasseur (G)
Player taken before and after: #196 Nicholas Tuzzolino (D - NYI) and #198 Kyle Lawson (D - CAR)
Stats with Ducks: NONE!
In December 2006, JP Levasseur was signed to the usual three-year, entry level contract. The closest thing Levasseur saw to an NHL game was backing up Curtis McElhinney while Jonas Hiller was out with his first round of vertigo. He did such a good job at sitting on the bench that Murray signed him to a one-year extension in June 2010, playing mostly in Syracuse. One year later, he was not extended a qualifying offer by the Ducks and went on to the free agent market. Unable to find a team in North America, JP Levasseur has gone to Italy to play for Cortina SG.
My only question after reading all of this is if the draft class was so bad, why did Murray make qualifying offers or sign players to extensions? Hmm. A look at the 2006 draft comes tomorrow.