A Steep Hill To Climb
With the good stuff taken care of, Pronman also discusses the state of the current team and mentions that they’re in a strange place given the average age of the team.
"“The Ducks are in an interesting position where the age of their core group of players isn’t old, but isn’t young either. The team struggled, and they lack a lot of premium young assets other than top-10 pick Trevor Zegras. They’re going to have to get a lot of value out of this group with most of these players exceeding their draft slots or else they are probably heading for a significant rebuild.”"
To my mind he perhaps doesn’t go far enough, however, that would take him diverting from the focus of his piece. For instance, the Ducks have one of the oldest groups of forwards in the league. They’re aged to be competitive right now, and not struggle as they have the past few years. This should be a clear sign to Bob Murray that the team can’t quite get it done as they are. There are certainly ways to rebuild on the fly, however, it remains to be seen if Murray is the person who should be in charge of this process.
Murray typically gets good value from his draft picks. Across the entirety of the draft, he gets more players into the NHL than is the average. Only in the 3rd and 6th rounds do the Anaheim Ducks produce fewer NHL players than the mean. However, Murray also has a tendency to be somewhat risk-averse and select players who are very likely NHL caliber players, but unlikely to score in buckets. He drafts for safety.
On a team that is filled with superstars, there is a lot to be said about acquiring NHL players in the draft. One only has to look at the Pittsburgh Penguins to see that they recently traded the #15 draft pick to acquire a player they originally drafted at #22 in a previous draft.
Of course, there were moving parts with those trades (Kapanen out/Kapanen in), as well as a lot of hot dogs and a couple of Stanley Cups. Nonetheless, the Penguins were able to leverage their draft picks into Phil Kessel and some cups, before moving prospects (Filip Hallander) to acquire another player they hope to be a top-6 forward.
Traditionally speaking, the Ducks didn’t do that in the time they had Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in their respective primes. For instance, Kyle Palmieri was traded for Draft picks, not NHL help. Recently, Marcus Pettersson was traded for Daniel Sprong, who was a prospect in his own right and not a sure thing. That, however, is beside the point.