By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks held a “Hockey Hot Stove” event in which Ducks color analyst Brian Hayward discussed various topics with the Ducks General Manager Bob Murray. The first part of the event was a discussion of selected topics between Hayward and Murray. The second half included questions that season ticket holders could submit when they registered for the event at the beginning of February.
The Trade Deadline
Bob Murray entered this year’s trade deadline not wanting to give up his first-round pick. He also didn’t want to trade top prospects, some of which he specified named in Sam Steel, Jacob Larsson, and Troy Terry. He also didn’t want to trade for a veteran player in exchange for a draft pick. He felt the team has not performed up to the level that it should be and that he didn’t want to change the make-up too much.
Murray addressed the idea of going after big name players like Erik Karlsson. He said the issue with Ottawa is they wanted a team to take Bobby Ryan along with Karlsson, which was a major stumbling block for Ottawa in trying to make a trade. He discussed the Ryan McDonagh trade and said the cost involved was way too high. Murray did not want to give up 5-6 players in a deal that would mortgage the future youth of this team. He doesn’t want the team to go through a major rebuild in the future. In regard to Max Pacioretty, a “certain French Canadian team”(Montreal) wanted a top winger on the Ducks team and Murray didn’t want to go that route either.
The Team’s Second Half Success
The Ducks have been 13-6-3 since their mandatory break back in January. Murray said given the Ducks schedule with all the home games, the team has a chance to make a push. He isn’t exactly sure why the team does better later in the season but said they know how to turn it on in the final months.
Second Segment (Fan Questions):
How did the Adam Henrique trade go down?
Murray said that he had started talking to New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero before the draft last season. At the time there was no discussion specifically of Henrique, but there was a discussion that the Devils would have plenty of centers, but needed help on defense. Since the Ducks had depth on defense and needed another center the two felt there could be a trade worked out in the future. During this season when the Ducks started to get healthy, the discussions picked up and the Devils were willing to part with Henrique given the youth in their system.
What is your main focus after the trade deadline?
Murray stated he will mainly focus his attention on the Ducks prospects and evaluating their skill levels. He said he plans to watch more of them play especially the Swedish players.
Why is there a lack of offense from the Kesler line?
Murray pointed to the fact Ryan Kesler is “fighting through a lot” and that he has tremendous “heart” when he plays, but he still isn’t 100%. He feels the line is “squeezing their sticks” a little too tightly. The guys just need to go to the net more often.
Do you plan to re-sign Henrique?
It’s too early to discuss this according to Murray but said he will be talking to Henrique and his agent in the offseason.
How does salary cap work when you have an injured player due to a serious injury or illness(alluding to Patrick Eaves)?
Murray stated that the long-term injury reserve is a way to create more cap space when you are down an injured player. He doesn’t like it, however, because when a player returns then you have to make some lineup adjustments in order to stay under the cap limit. Murray said Eaves has been skating and feels great. He said he has a side “issue” that he is dealing with and that by this weekend he will know if Eaves can play this season. He wouldn’t elaborate on what the “issue” was but said that even if Eaves can’t return this season that he will be back next year.
What are the chances of Cup runs in the future?
The key to a Cup run is being strong in the middle and having depth on defense Murray stated. He said the team has a very young and good defensive core. He would like to add another defenseman like Josh Manson. He would also like to add another strong goalie long term if possible. The issue with this team is the scoring from the wing position. He also stated the team as a whole needs to manage the puck better and avoid costly turnovers. The team needs to limit the scoring chances of their opponents.
A few questions asked about players from San Diego making the jump to Anaheim.
Troy Terry is a player that Murray said to watch. When he is finished with his season in Denver he could join the club and play. He likes what he has seen from Marcus Pettersson so far. He is also looking for players like Jacob Larsson, Andy Welinski, Joshua Mahura, and Maxime Comtois to make an impact with the Ducks. He added it may be difficult to see Sam Steel or Josh Mahura down the stretch since Regina is hosting the Memorial Cup.
Additional Team News
It was announced just prior to the event that the seats in Honda Center will be replaced starting next season and over the course of a few years. The retractable seats in the 200 sections will be the first to be upgraded.
The Select-A-Seat event for season ticket holders will be held on April 7th.
The Ducks have started a new Orange Alliance program for season ticket holders. Visit here for info: Join The Orange Alliance
I did have a chance to speak to Murray after the event. If you want to see his comments, then please visit here: DucksNPucks Patreon
Also if you want to see more pictures from the event, then check out our Snap Chat!
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March 1st, 2018