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Hockey Hot Stove With Bob Murray
By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks held another Hockey Hot Stove event with General Manager Bob Murray today. Brian Hayward sat down with the GM and asked him several questions. Orange Alliance members in attendance were then able to ask questions afterward.
Note: The topics listed below are in the order that they were asked at the event.
Discuss the challenge for the Ducks in this retooling process.
Murray said he has been looking forward to this challenge. He said it began this year, but he should have started in one year earlier. He admitted to waiting a little too long to get the process going.
How long for the team to turn it around?
Hayward mentioned that most teams seem to take five years to come out of a rebuild. Murray said he didn’t want it to take that long. He also said, however, he didn’t want to take shortcuts because he wants to put the team in a position where they can compete for several years in a row and not just one or two seasons.
Thoughts on the trade deadline?
Murray was happy that he was able to get a first-round pick. Generally speaking in terms of all the trades made, Murray felt he had to change the people that the team wasn’t able to win with.
Thoughts on the first year of retooling?
At the beginning of the season, Murray was hopeful that the team could at least compete for a wild card spot. He felt the biggest issue with the team is the special teams play. He said the power play is his number one concern. He added that going down one or two goals on the penalty kill on a regular basis makes it difficult to win games. He does like the team’s 5-on-5 play.
How is the relationship with Dallas Eakins?
Murray said the relationship is “really good” with Eakins and that he likes how he communicates with the players. He said he tried to pull back and stay out of the decision-making process in the beginning so Eakins could gain experience as an NHL head coach. He feels that Dallas has learned a great deal since the beginning of the season.
Thoughts on the chore players and Getzlaf as captain?
Hayward stated that he felt the Ducks core players are Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and John Gibson. Murray didn’t state whether Getzlaf would be back or not after his contract expires. He said he doesn’t like overusing him. He feels the team depends on him too much and the younger players need to step up. He added that Getzlaf has no problem with other players coming up as leaders.
How do you decide where to put young players(in NHL or AHL)?
Murray said his staff battles with this often. He said part of the issue is that players have to been sent down to the minors on the NHL trade deadline day so they can play later in the AHL season or playoffs. He also mentioned the issue of having only four non-emergency recalls doesn’t help the situation either. Murray said there was some discussion about whether to send Troy Terry or Kiefer Sherwood down. Murray said, “Out of all the young guys, I think Troy Terry has the best leadership ability.” He felt Terry can help the Gulls get in a position for a Calder Cup run. He added that Terry was “pist” about not being brought back up immediately after the deadline. Murray does like it when a player gets angry because to him it shows the player’s willingness to want to play in the NHL and not accept just playing in the minors.
Murray said he plans to send Christian Djoos, Brendan Guhle, Max Jones, Kiefer Sherwood, and Sam Steel down to San Diego at the end of the NHL season. He added he isn’t a big fan of these rules and that they should be changed.
Any insight on the lastest GM Meetings?
Murray said the offside rule is hopefully going to be changed. It hasn’t been approved yet, but he would like it to be modified. He feels that too many players get hurt trying to stretch out to stay onside.
He also discussed the emergency goalie situation and felt it’s not a “big deal” to have any extra goalie ready to go if the two top goalies both go out in a game. He again talked about the rules been changed and more lenient to allow this to happen.
Why do think there was so much movement at the trade deadline?
Murray felt many teams were trying to stack their team for a playoff run. He specifically talked about Philadelphia and how they added Nate Thompson and Derek Grant to help their bottom-six forwards. He also felt several players on various teams need a change of scenery.
Plans for Trevor Zegras and Brayden Tracey? Zegras the best prospect?
Murray said it all comes down to what is best for the player’s development. He said that minor league experience, especially playoff hockey is critical for younger players. He said that he talked to Zegras’ agent recently and he wants to turn pro. Murray said that the Ducks got lucky to draft him.
How about Comtois, he was just named rookie of the month in the AHL?
Murray again talked about some of the rules involving younger players and how some of them have to been sent back to juniors. He feels the rules get in the way of deciding how to develop a player. He said Max Comtois was told not to be as physical when he was sent down, so he had to be retrained to be physical again. He was another player that was “pissed off” when he was sent back down.
Have you planned for the free agency coming up yet?
Murray said he already has a list of players that he is looking at on his desk. He said he doesn’t want to try to bring in an aging player and sign him for a long contract(8 years). He did talk about the Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger situation as far as trying to do something similar with the current team.
Seattle expansion draft is coming, what would you do differently this time?
Murray admitted he got stuck in a bad situation and had to lose a good defenseman. He said the team is currently in a good spot right now. He also talked about the Nicolas Deslauriers situation and how he earned his contract. The two-year deal means that he meets the exposure requirements with his new contract.
On the Grant trade:
Murray was hoping to possibly get a higher pick, but he was glad he didn’t lose him from nothing. He also alluded to a good chance he comes back in July.
On the Ritchie trade:
Murray felt Nick Ritchie needed a change of scenery. He felt he was weighing down on himself too much and it affected his teammates. He hopes he figures things out in Boston.
On the Ducks energy in Edmonton game:
He felt some players may have played better right after the deadline because they don’t have to worry about being traded. He said though that some do still stress because they don’t have a contract at the end of this season.
It also appears that he doesn’t want to add more stress in regards to winning games right now. He said, “I’m not trying to win every game here, let’s be honest.” Murray still has his eye on getting a high draft pick at the moment. He did emphasize that come next year a “gun is at the head of the core players” as they need to perform better than this year. It sounded like Murray is going to experiment with the newcomers and see if they fit into the lineup. Once next season rolls around the pressure to win will be on again.
On possible draft targets:
Murray wouldn’t mention any player names, but he has several that he currently looking at. He really wants someone that has a good one-timer from the blueline. He said, “we’ll be looking for shooters in the draft. Some of our guys just can’t shoot one-timers, boggles my mind.” Another fan stated she was tired of the extra passes and Murray agreed. He is a “shoot first kind of guy” he added.
Thoughts on the Olympics:
Murray likes the Olympics and World Cup as it provides good hockey. But he also doesn’t like the fact that players get hurt.
Ducks Skate Today
There was a practice open to Orange Alliance members today. Erik Gudbranson(upper-body) and Josh Manson(upper-body) were practicing today. Gubdranson and Manson looked great and appear to be close to coming back. The team had a spirited practice overall today.
Cam Fowler(lower body), John Gibson(lower body), and Hampus Lindholm(upper body) were not present. Fowler did practice again on his own before the team practice. Brendan Guhle was reassigned to San Diego.
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March 7th, 2020