Jonathan Maxfield — Site Expert, Pucks of a Feather
I’ll throw you a curveball here with my answer. I think the best move that Bob Murray made all season was not firing Carlyle until he did. He said last season that making the playoffs was most likely a mistake. Since firing Carlyle, the Anaheim Ducks have 21 points in 21 games, good for roughly an 80 point pace over a full season, which would have them right in the thick of the playoff race right now.
By hanging onto the “dinosaur” as long as humanly possible, what Murray did was take a team with some potential, get them far enough out of the playoff picture that they would need a miracle to make it, and then fire the coach, to evaluate the players over the last 1/3 of the season.
If Murray would have fired Carlyle sooner, the Anaheim Ducks could very well have made a push (as they are doing now) and either just missed the playoffs or made the playoffs to a rude awakening of a 4 game embarrassment similar to last season. Instead, we’ll, hopefully, get a 7th-10th overall draft pick this franchise desperately needs.
Now, I’m not giving Murray credit as though he was playing some 4D chess. It’s quite obvious he had faith in Carlyle and didn’t see him as the problem. However, from an outside perspective, and looking at things in hindsight, letting Carlyle dig this season’s grave, only for Murray to push him in at the last possible moment may unintentionally be the smartest move Murray has made in quite some time.