Anaheim Ducks General Manager, Bob Murray, is tired of the rebuilding situation. What does he have left to do to make his team a playoff contender?
Bob Murray has, by all accounts, had himself a pretty good off-season. Many pundits scored the Anaheim Ducks draft day with an A-grade. Jamie Drysdale and Jacob Perreault highlighted that draft class, and of course, the Ducks picked up some “boom or bust” type depth to go around them.
Following that, Murray was then able to move Erik Gudbranson for a draft selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, freeing up some sorely needed cap space and removing a traditionally poor player after one of his best career years. Creating value and selling “high” is never a bad idea, and in this instance, Murray did well.
As a backhanded sort of compliment, Murray’s moves often look good in isolation but don’t often seem to fit the big picture in the eyes of the fans. This time, however, free agency came upon on us and Murray used that cap space to upgrade his defensive corp, signing Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year dear ($3.9 million per season).
Shattenkirk had a tremendous bounce-back season culminating in a Stanely Cup victory last season, playing for the highly skilled Tampa Bay Lightning team. In many ways, it seems likely that his offensive production was somewhat buoyed playing in that environment and that the lower scoring Ducks could see a suppressed output from Shattenkirk, comparative to last season, over the length of the contract.
Nonetheless, there are very few who would suggest that Shattenkirk is not a clear upgrade over Gudbranson, so to get a straight swap of players as well as an additional draft asset is quite a nice bit of business for the Anaheim Ducks GM. This changing of the guard is where things get a little interesting.
The above quote suggests that Murray is of the belief he has been rebuilding in recent years, and that time is now over. We could certainly discuss that train of thought and most certainly many have and will over the coming weeks and months. However, perhaps the more fun way to frame that comment is that the Anaheim Ducks want to become a relevant playoff team. Thus, given that framing, what more would need to be done in order to move from drafting 6th overall to being a genuine playoff fancy?