Bob Murray believes the Anaheim Ducks are ready to compete again this year. However, maybe now is the time to focus on the future.
Bob Murray has had a very interesting off-season. After an extended wait for the team to officially enter the off-season, the Anaheim Ducks GM started by having a solid draft, headed by Jamie Drysdale and Jacob Perreault. Once the draft concluded, not much was expected of the Ducks heading into the free agency with less than $2 million in cap space. That suddenly changed however with the trade of defensemen Erik Gudbranson and his generous $4 million contract.
It was known the Ducks had holes, a defenseman to put into the top four, and a backup goaltender to replace Ryan Miller (unless Miller decides to resign) were obvious needs. Another scoring option could have been a welcomed addition, but due to limited cap space, the reality was that the moves were likely to be limited.
After two seasons of finishing toward the bottom of the league, the Anaheim Ducks do not seem like a group that is prepared to compete in the competitive Western Conference. However, Murray decided to double down during the free agency period and bring in Kevin Shattenkirk on a 3-year $11.7 million contract, as well as bring back fan-favorite, Derek Grant, on a 3-year $4.5 million contract on day one of the signing period.
By making these moves, Murray has made it aware that he believes the Ducks roster is now loaded and ready to make a push for the playoffs. That means Ducks fans should be excited because apparently the (very brief) “rebuild” is over. However, the competitiveness of this team will strongly hinge on many of the younger players breaking through and become major contributors to the offense.
As much as Murray wants this team to be competitive, there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in his plan. Hoping that the offense can drastically improve, along with a major rebound from the defensive core can be seen as asking a lot. Tie this in with a competitive division, along with sharing the conference with a strong Central Division, the Anaheim Ducks could very well be on the outside looking in for the third straight season. Because of this, along with the Ducks’ future contractual commitments, Bob Murray could miss out on a major rebuilding opportunity.