Ciara Durant — Site Expert, Pucks of a Feather
There have been a lot of moves, or lack thereof, that Bob Murray has made this season that has left Ducks Nation scratching their heads. However, despite his lackadaisical attitude for the majority of the season, he has still made quite a few moves that he should be applauded for.
He has taken on the role of head coach, adding to his already heavy workload as Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, in order to personally fix the mistakes he was somewhat responsible for. Despite being a fan favorite, he traded Andrew Cogliano, for the younger and slightly more talented Devin Shore. Murray even brought back everyone’s favorite player, Elite 1 C, Derek Grant.
However, in my opinion, trading Brandon Montour was probably one of his smartest moves of the season. I admire Montour tremendously. He took on an insane amount of responsibility last season and did so with finesse. Nevertheless, despite being one of the most productive defensemen on the team, it was clear that being with the Anaheim Ducks no longer beneficial for him. At the age of 24, his development seemed to hit a wall.
Murray saw the value of young Montour, and with a retool and the draft on the horizon, he wisely used Montour as a pawn in his ultimate plan. Going into the 2019 draft, the Anaheim Ducks were two draft picks short.
By trading Montour to the Buffalo Sabres, the Anaheim Ducks acquired a conditional late first round draft pick and Brendan Guhle. Guhle was the favorite defensive prospect of the Sabres up until they drafted Rasmus Dahlin last summer. He was no longer found to be as valuable after Dahlin entered the scene. By moving to the Anaheim Ducks, Guhle makes the team younger and, from what we’ve seen, brings more talent to the blueline.
In the wake of their “re-tool”, the Ducks now have a second first-round draft pick. While it is later in the first round, it will still serve to benefit them. Murray has done a great job drafting late in the first round over the past few years, and with two picks in the first round this season, this could be very similar to the 2003 draft when Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were drafted.
This move not only makes the team younger and more skilled, but it is a sign that Murray is invested in the future of the Anaheim Ducks. I, for one, am excited to see what he does in the 2019 draft with two first-round draft picks.