Anaheim Ducks: Sending Bob On His Murray Way

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 05: Head coach Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks looks on from the bench during third period action against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 5, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 05: Head coach Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks looks on from the bench during third period action against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 5, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images) /

After 12 seasons at the helm, is it time for the Anaheim Ducks to send Bargain Bob on his Murray way?

All 31 teams in the National Hockey League have a General Manager. Some are really good; much like Jim Rutherford and Steve Yzerman. Then you also have some really bad ones like Peter Chiarelli and Garth Snow. The goal of every GM is to orchestrate a team that can win a Stanley Cup within a few years or set the team up for a future Cup window by drafting and trading for the right pieces   Where does the Anaheim Ducks GM fall among those names? Better yet who is our GM?

The NHL career of Robert Frederick Murray, better known as Bob Murray, began when he was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1974. He played just over 1,000 games, registering 514 points (132g, 382a) as a defenseman. After his time in the Windy City, both as a player and General Manager, he worked for both the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks between 1999 and 2005.

In 2005, he began working under the Anaheim Ducks’ previous General Manager, Brian Burke. He oversaw player development and went on to see the Ducks win the Cup in 2007 in this role. In November 2008, Murray had officially been named the new General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks.

So, here we are, 12 years later. Bob Murray has seen the game as a player, GM, and head coach. Surely he knows what the team needs, right? After all, he did win General Manager of the year during the 2013-14 season. While most of us probably don’t remember his first trade at the helm of the Ducks, Joakim Lindstrom to the Arizona Coyotes for Logan Stephenson, let’s take a look at one of the more meaningful trades of Murray’s tenure.

The Ryan Kesler Trade

We’ve seen a lot of good trades, but we’ve seen an equal amount of bad trades as well. However, none of them compare to the Ryan Kesler trade. The Anaheim Ducks acquired Ryan Kesler and a 2015 3rd round draft pick from the Vancouver Canucks. In turn, the Canucks received Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, a 2014 1st Round draft pick, and a 2014 3rd round draft pick.

Before the Kesler trade, the Anaheim Ducks were an average team, at best. It was a constant cycle of: have an alright season, make the playoffs, get bounced in the first or second round, rinse and repeat. After the Kesler trade was made, the Ducks went on to make the Western Conference Finals twice in three seasons. They hadn’t been that far since their Stanley Cup win in 2007.

That’s outstanding and all, but there’s a major problem. After that trade, Bob Murray hasn’t done much of anything else to supplement that move. The Ducks were not given a decent depth group to work with. If you look at the trades that have been made in the last 3-5 years, you’re bound to think of two things: this trade does nothing for this team or we lost this trade.

Case in point: Carl Hagelin is a 2-time Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, David Perron and Pat Maroon are 2019 Stanley Cup Champions, Kyle Palmieri is suffering in new Jersey, and William Karlsson is killing it in Las Vegas.

Reluctant to Make Moves at the Trade Deadline

One thing that Murray is often criticized for is his reluctance to make moves during the trade deadline. It has become a running joke that Bob Murray is often asleep while the rest of the league is making moves. If he does anything, he makes a few minor league moves. Meanwhile, our Division and Conference foes are making their moves.

This has driven Ducks fans, myself included, absolutely crazy. I remember sitting in class on trade deadline days staring a hole into my phone, waiting for that trade notification to hit. But they never came. If they did, they were god awful.

You all know what I’m talking about! Chris Wagner to the Islanders for Jason Chimera. GMBM then signs Chris Kelly. And for what? Speed? I have never wanted to break my phone more than at that moment when I saw those two notifications. The Ducks not only made the playoffs but also surpassed the San Jose Sharks for 2nd place in the Division. An actual pickup would have been nice. Although, the Ducks did get swept in the first round of the playoffs that season, further proving my point: moves should have been made.

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Keeping Randy Carlyle Past His Expiration Date

Speaking of moves being made, after that sweep against San Jose, Randy Carlyle should have been fired. That should have been it right there. But, that’s what happens when you employ a friend you’ve previously fired. Murray elected to bite the bullet and not make the same mistake twice. It only took a few soul-crushing losing streaks for him to finally pull the trigger. By then, it was too late. We were already halfway through the season. At least Murray has a winning record as a coach though, right?

Does Bob Murray Need to be Fired?

This leads us to the concluding question: does Bob Murray need to be fired? The answer: Yes. While Bob has shown us flashes of brilliance with moves like Bobby Ryan for Jakob Silfverberg and the Kesler trade, he has also shown signs of pure selfishness and idiocy with moves like keeping Carlyle beyond his expiration date and drafting Nick Ritchie over David Pastrnak. That doesn’t even include the trades he’s made that have hurt his team more than helped them out.

Above everything else, his reluctance to try something is what kills me the most. When Ray Shero recently got fired by the New Jersey Devils, he at least tried. He made waves in the draft, signed a still useful defenseman, and tried to keep his star player happy. Bob Murray hasn’t done anything like that. I could argue he’d probably be a better GM for the Gulls at this point because most of the players he picks up end up playing there anyway.

Next. What if the Anaheim Ducks Were Buyers at the Trade Deadline?. dark

For those of you who are actually interested in seeing Bob Murray’s full trade history as General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks, you can visit the NHL trade tracker.