Hampus Lindholm poses for a photo after being selected as the number six overall draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2012 NHL Draft. Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Murray's 3 Point Plan For The Anaheim Ducks


Bob Murray’s 3 Point Plan for the Anaheim Ducks (Part 1 of 4)

In the picture shown the Ducks number 6 draft pick, (Hamphus Lindholm), has his arm around a man that many Anaheim Ducks fans consider to be the enemy: General Manager Bob Murray.

Just a couple of days ago I wrote about why the Ducks should not re-hire Brian Burke.  Perhaps more surprisingly I alluded to the fact that the Ducks should also not fire Bob Murray, (at least not yet).  With a petition out to get Murray fired I know a number of Ducks’ fans must be wondering what I am smoking.  Well allow me to explain my reasoning, (and for the record, I don’t smoke anything).

To begin, I should state that Bob Murray has not publicly announced any official plan to help the Ducks again find success.  This 3 Point plan is based purely on my own observations of the moves that have been made in Anaheim, in combination with some comments made by Murray this past summer, (see video).

Murray’s comments and the moves made by the Anaheim organization clearly indicate that the Ducks first of all learned some badly needed lessons, and than responded by making moves in the off-season, (before the chaos that was the lockout ensued).  Let’s start by looking at the lessons learned in the past few seasons, but in particular from the 2011-2012 season and post-season.

 

Lessons Learned

 

1 – Get Bigger

When you look at the teams who made the playoffs, and especially those that went deep, they were bigger and stronger.  Murray commented this past summer that a phase occurred in the NHL where teams, in an effort to get faster, also got inherently smaller.  The Ducks were no exception.

2 – Four-Lines of Offense

The Ducks won a cup with 2 scoring lines and 2 checking lines, (or as Bob Murray put it, with “two and a half lines”).  Since then the NHL has evolved and got away from a 2 and 2 system, or even a 3 and 1 system, and more towards 4 lines with stronger scoring capabilities.

3 – Build from the Goal Out

Look at the playoffs last year: The teams that went deep went deep thanks to goaltending.  The team that won the cup had the hottest goaltender and Conn Smythe winner, Jonathan Quick.  Additionally we would be fools to forget Mike Smith, Marty Brodeur, Braden Holtby, Pekka Rinne, or Henrik Lundqvist; all of which were goaltenders to teams that went at least to the second round of the playoffs.

 

Murray’s Response

 

1 – Get Bigger

I didn’t enjoy seeing Lubo traded as much as the next guy, but in all reality, it makes sense.  We got a good draft pick for him, and more importantly our blue line got much bigger.  Sheldon Souray is 6’4” and 237 pounds, while Bryan Allen is 6’5” and 226.  To contrast, Lubo is 5’10” and 197, a good 4 inches and 40 pounds smaller than Souray.  Sure we’ll miss Lubo’s offensive production, but that hopefully will come from other areas.

2 – Four-Lines of Offense

This one is huge for me.  This was the point of firing Randy Carlyle, and more importantly why firing him was a good decision.  The system wasn’t working, and we were able to run the system on fumes for a few years, but it clearly ran out of gas last season.  Bruce Boudreau is a great choice to try to build a four-line system where we can attempt to have real offensive depth.  Anaheim prospects will have a lot to do with the success of four-lines of offense.

3 – Build from the Goal Out

Hiller began to return to form under Boudreau, which means great news for Anaheim fans.  Hiller could be elite goalie talent, as we have seen glimpses of over the last few seasons.  Additionally, the Ducks have really worked to build up their goalie prospect pool with the likes of Viktor Fasth, and of course through the great up-and-comer, (and World Juniors Champion and MVP), John Gibson.

Conclusion

 

Give Bob Murray some credit.  Last year was dismal and yet he didn’t make any stupid trades, all the while teams must have been going nuts thinking they could get Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, or Ryan Getzlaf.  Murray recognized that it might not be a change in players that’s needed in Anaheim, but a change in system and with it, coaching.  He made that change and although the Ducks didn’t make the playoffs, things did improve.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be breaking down the different points of the plan in greater depth and perhaps shed light on why we can all again be hopeful in Anaheim.  Let us all hope that Murray can get this ball rolling again, because for now at least, it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.

What are your thoughts?  Is Anaheim doomed under Murray?  Is my observed plan a bunch of malarkey? Or is the future bright for the Ducks?

Tags: Anaheim Anaheim Ducks Bob Bob Murray Ducks Future General Manager GM Hockey Murray NHL Plan

  • http://www.facebook.com/k.hill54 Kris Hill

    In following other teams around the league, I have noticed these same issues, even as far back as two years ago. The two previous Cup winners had at least two of the three mentioned (Boston: Big D and Hot Goalie, Blackhawks: Four Scoring Lines and Big D). The main reason for a lot of short depth playoff teams was having less than two. No longer can you have just a hot net minder or be big or have four deep scoring.

    • http://twitter.com/CamLanier Cameron Lanier

      So true. It’s hard to have it all, but when you do you can’t dispute the results.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003754558707 Richard Reyes

    Future is bright for the Ducks. Hiller has already made the all-star game. He’s already an all star goalie. The question of his talent should not be there. The amount of young talent Anaheim has is scary and enough to make other teams mouth water. Bruce Boudreau will do a fantastic job grooming our team into a offensive powerhouse Let’s Go DUCKS!!! #1 (:

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