If Anaheim Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray wants to keep his job, the team will need to take a significant step next season.
The Ducks were 13th in the Western Conference when the NHL hit the pause button on the 2019-20 season on March 12, making it the second consecutive season Anaheim didn’t qualify for the playoffs.
The pressure is on Murray to deliver a winning team. As Eric Stephens of The Athletic points out, if he doesn’t he may be gone before his contract expires:
“The Ducks must take steps forward now. They may have to start winning for his sake. His contract is up in 2022. He sold the Samuelis on a roster retooling that had to be done, that’s still in the process of doing. These owners are extraordinarily patient but until this fruitless two-year stretch, they’ve been used to playoff money coming in. No GM has a lifetime deal. How much longer will he be allowed to have the keys?”
Anaheim has qualified for the postseason eight times during Murray’s 12 seasons as the GM, losing twice in the Western Conference finals. The Ducks were in the upper echelon of the NHL from 2013 to 2017, but Murray failed to add significant young pieces while the core was aging.
Corey Perry’s buyout remains a tough pill to swallow, especially with the salary cap looking like it won’t increase much over the coming seasons due to the economic fallout of the pandemic.
The good news is with Trevor Zegras, and the sixth pick in the 2020 NHL Draft being in the system, Anaheim will have a couple of building blocks in place for the future. The question is will Murray be around long enough to see the retool through?
Do you think Murray will stay on for two more seasons? Or will ownership let him go prior to his contract expiring?
On to some links:
If Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel becomes available via trade, what kind of package would it take to get him? Joe Dibiase of WGR550 looks at which NHL teams have the assets to acquire the high-scoring Eichel.