Welcome to Anaheim’s Offseason ABC’s!!! This series will be an alphabetical approach to Anaheim’s priorities, plans, and goals during the 2017 offseason. Look out for everything Anaheim, A-Z!
Approach. After another elimination short of the Stanley Cup final, Anaheim has a lot of decisions to make this offseason. While this year’s playoff certainly saw the Ducks advance very far (farther than some of us expected at the start of the season), there are still some question marks on just what this teams goals are in the offseason.
The veteran core of the franchise is certainly still talented, but their time as play-drivers is closer to its end than beginning. With tons of young talent already on the NHL roster and in the farm system, Anaheim is set to continue being a contender for many years to come.
Looking at what Anaheim has done over the last 5 years, it’s easy to see that while they have certainly fielded talented lineups, they obviously have been unable to get over the hump in the postseason. And, in my opinion, this probably will not change in the next 2-3 years. Anaheim will continue trot out contenders, but may not be able to get the job done in the postseason. But, if Bob Murray plays his cards right, Anaheim could easily be a Cup finalist or champion in less than 5 years.
The key to Anaheim’s championship hopes is continued patience and stinginess on the part of Bob Murray. I have thoroughly been critical of BM in the past because of the fact that he always said that he was trying to put together a championship roster every year, but was unable to make some of the sacrifices necessary to do so. Murray has been notoriously protective of the talented prospects that he has brought into the organization. And while that may not have necessarily been productive if the scheme of winning Anaheim the Cup NOW, it will benefit the franchise in the long run.
Murray has accrued a plethora of talented young players under the Ducks banner over the last 5 years, and it has shown at the NHL level with players like Lindholm, Rakell, Vatanen, Montour, Theodore, Manson and more finding success. With players like Max Jones, Jaycob Megna, Sam Steel, etc. all showing tons of potential, Anaheim’s future is bright. And that future will count on Murray’s continued protection of his prospects.
I have no problem with Murray continuing to bring in cheap veterans to compliment the core he already has to maybe get Anaheim over the hump, but it is in the best interest of Anaheim to avoid moving away futures for aging veterans that will hurt the long-term competitiveness of this franchise. If Murray can continue that stingy streak of his, and move some bad contracts out of Orange County, Anaheim could be set to become extremely dominant in a few years.
What will Bob Murray’s approach to this offseason be? I’m not sure, but if he plays his cards right, Anaheim could become a franchise to truly be feared in the years to come.