Anaheim Ducks Early Season Grades: Randy Carlyle and Bob Murray

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 23: Anaheim Ducks Randy Carlyle looks on in the 3rd period of game action during an NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks on October 23, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 23: Anaheim Ducks Randy Carlyle looks on in the 3rd period of game action during an NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks on October 23, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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After being swept by the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday, the Anaheim Ducks currently have a season record of 8-9-3. This doesn’t reflect well on Randy Carlyle or Bob Murray. It’s high time we evaluate their performances and hand out their early season grades.

It’s day’s like these where I wish I could sit down with the owner of the Anaheim Ducks, Henry Samueli, and have a “parent-teacher conference.” This team is, in a sense, his child. The men he has entrusted it to are essentially running it into the ground.

If you don’t like reading rants, this is not the article for you. If you think Randy Carlyle isn’t the issue, a different article would suit you better. If you are under the assumption that Bob Murray has nothing to do with the failure of this team, again, you’re not going to like what I have to say.

Let us commence with the classroom analogy, shall we? In this situation, each member of the Anaheim Ducks organization has a role. The players are the students, Randy Carlyle is the teacher, Bob Murray the principle, and Henry Samueli is the superintendent.

If a student’s “test scores” drop, that reflects badly on the student. However, if the test scores of the entire class drop, that reflects badly on the teacher. In the case of the Anaheim Ducks, the performance of the entire team has suffered, which you think would reflect badly upon the coach in the eyes of the General Manager, Bob Murray, and Mr. Samueli.

Nevertheless, here we are, November 15th, 2018, and Randy Carlyle is still the head coach. Samueli has entrusted Bob Murray to fix, replace, and get rid of anything that is a detriment to his team or his organization. Nevertheless, Murray has kept Carlyle behind the bench and, aside from the shocking addition of Pontus Aberg, he has brought in a handful of players who have done nothing for this team but put us ten steps behind the rest of the league.

So, it’s time for me to look at the facts, check the tests scores, and hand out the grades. After last night’s performance against the Vegas Golden Knights, I will no longer hold back. I always attempt to see the positives in everything, but I can no longer see past the anger I feel every time I see Randy Carlyle behind the bench.

I have made it no secret that I think both Carlyle and Murray are the root of the problem. Nevertheless, until yesterday I probably would have given both of them the benefit of the doubt. Alas, we have finally seen the Anaheim Ducks roster fully healthy, and to be quite frank, I am not impressed.

It’s high time they were held accountable for their actions. If no one else will do it, at least I can voice the frustrations of 99.9% of the fans.

Randy Carlyle- Coach of the Anaheim Ducks

Grade: D- (60%)

Most of you would probably disagree with me on this grade. There are several reasons as to why Randy Carlyle should receive a lower grade. In the grand scheme of things, he deserves a failing grade. However, if you noticed, RC is the only person who has earned a percentage with their grade.

He is 1% away from receiving that failing grade we all know he deserves. So, why am I giving him a small percentage of grace? There is a simple explanation for this. Bob Murray. If Murray is okay with giving Carlyle grace, why shouldn’t I? Just kidding, but in all seriousness, Murray is further down on my list that Carlyle. I didn’t find it to be quite fair to give them the same grade.

Besides, Carlyle has had to try and work with some of the horrific signings that Murray has made during the offseason. Luke Schenn to be more specific. Of course, there is the argument that he could have just scratched him each night in favor of the slightly better option of Andrej Sustr. Nevertheless, it all comes down to dollar signs and greenbacks.

Other than that, Randy Carlyle has been pretty awful behind the bench and most of us called it late last season. The only thing keeping him in Anaheim is the bad luck the Ducks have had with injuries the past two season. Even still, we’ve seen the Ducks with a nearly healthy roster and they haven’t been any better.

Why? It’s the system that Randy Carlyle is running. The game of dump and chase does not become any different when you add the element of speed, it just becomes more difficult. The team is struggling to keep up, connect passes, and they are playing, to put it nicely, too cute.

Not to mention, he split up probably the best defensive pairing we have on the team. Our blueline looks like a deflated balloon most nights because of it. Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm‘s chemistry helped our defensive core thrive. Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour may both be slightly defensively irresponsible, but at least they jived together and are productive.

The offense isn’t any better either. It’s sloppy and unorganized. Something on this team is missing. You could chalk it all down to the players. However, a roster with players like Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Ryan Kesler, and company shouldn’t be playing as disastrous as they have been.

My final assessment is that Carlyle’s “talents” are better utilized someplace else. It’s time for him to hang up the clipboard and retire from coaching. It was fun while it lasted, and we’re grateful that he brought Lord Stanley to California and the Anaheim Ducks for the first time. Nevertheless, it’s time to move on.

There’s no use trying to fix something that has proven time and time again that it doesn’t work. Anaheim needs a new coach who is already adapted to the new system that is now prevalent in hockey. Until that happens, I don’t see the Anaheim Ducks having much success this season.

Bob Murray- General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks

Grade: F

I don’t think I have to explain my reasoning behind giving Bob Murray a failing grade. So this will be short, sweet, and to the point.

First of all, Bob Murray was entrusted with the Anaheim Ducks by their owner Henry Samueli. When he took this job, he basically made a public statement that he would do what is in the teams best interest. This means he needs to put aside his personal agenda, no matter who he’s buddy-buddy with (meaning Randy Carlyle.)

This also extends further than the coaching situation. Although we support this team, I’m sure you will all agree with me that it is incredibly difficult to watch them play sometimes. There is a huge lack of accountability and discipline on this team. Murray needs to stand up and make sure his players know that if they aren’t meeting expectation they can either join him in the press box for a little bit or prepare to pack their bags.

Bringing in players like Luke Schenn and Andrej Sustr definitely didn’t help the team either. The rookies playing on the blueline are lacking consistency and their performance has been suffering because these vets have been slowing them down. It’s very similar to the Jason Chimera, Chris Kelly, Francois Beauchemin, Kevin Bieksa experiment of last season.

Of course, these players were great in their glory days. However, father time had caught up to them and they were way past their prime. There comes a time when you either need to make room for the prospects or take a big risk and bring in someone who could be a major game changer.

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I’m not saying that Murray hasn’t made phenomenal decisions for this team, because that would be a lie. Murray has brough in the likes of Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg, and many other good players. However, we’re talking about this season, and so far he hasn’t been doing his job.

In my opinion, he hasn’t been doing his job well for the past two seasons. Of course, the Ducks have had major success with Adam Henrique so I will give him credit for that. He also brought in Pontus Aberg this season, and no one saw that coming. He’s surpassed expectations thus far. It may just be my anger, but I feel like the bad outweighs the good here.

His days of winning NHL General Manager of the Year are in the rearview mirror. Henry Samueli needs to step up and say something to Murray. Things need to change, and they need to change fast.

Next. Early Season Report Cards, Forwards Part 2. dark

Whether that means Murray is out the door at the same time as Carlyle or he just gets a stern talking to, hopefully, change comes to Anaheim soon.