Anaheim Ducks Fans Voice Concerns in Open Letter to Bob Murray

Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The lackluster nightly performances from the Anaheim Ducks have left fans of the team feeling underwhelmed and uninspired. Prior to the start of the season, there was a lot of talk about big changes that would ultimately lead the team to the playoffs. Nevertheless, eight games into the season and the story on the ice tells somewhat of a different tale.

Despite their 3-3-2 record, the Ducks owe most of their success to John Gibson. His performance between the pipes has been their saving grace. But, John Gibson alone won’t be enough to drag them into the playoffs. In fact, recent accounts show that when he is overworked, Gibby’s performance suffers. Will history repeat itself? That remains to be seen.

Fans were hopeful after a lively and promising performance against the formative Colorado Avalanche. Nevertheless, we were knocked back down to earth by the startling state of our team after an incredibly disappointing showing against the Arizona Coyotes; a team the Anaheim Ducks should easily be able to keep up with.

While they won the first game of the two-game series, once again, John Gibson came to their rescue. No one on this team can seem to be consistent offensively or defensively. It is inexcusable for a team to only register 9 shots on goal throughout 60 minutes of gameplay. Thursday night’s game against the Yotes wasn’t the first time they registered less than 20 SOG. In fact, in over half of their games this season, the Ducks haven’t been able to get past that threshold.

The Anaheim Ducks 3-2 loss against the Arizona Coyotes, however, seemed to be the breaking point for a lot of fans. Tempers are flaring, and all eyes are on General Manager Bob Murray. It is only fair that we ask you, the fans, what changes you’d like to see. So, we have composed an open letter to GMBM, imploring him to listen to our pleas.

An Open Letter to the Anaheim Ducks General Manager

To the Anaheim Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager, Mr. Bob Murray,

What an interesting year it has been. After ten months off the ice, it’s good to see the Anaheim Ducks back in action. We applaud you for the measures you’ve taken to keep both your team and your staff safe during such uncertain times. Nevertheless, it’s time we had a chat.

Over the offseason, after the acquisition of one Mr. Kevin Shattenkirk, you left fans with the impression that you were finished with the rebuild. A “rebuild” that seemed, in a way, half-hearted and poorly executed. You made it clear that you expected nothing less than a team that was ready for the playoffs. But, after only eight games, it is clear that this team does not have the stamina to achieve your playoff dreams. So, where does this leave us?

Longing for change… That’s currently our heart’s desire. Clearly, you seem to be on the same page. According to sources, you were one of the top contenders in the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade. This can only mean one thing, you see a need for change and you are willing to execute. But alas, we could not beat the Winnipeg Jets offer of Patrik Laine, which brings up another issue that we will discuss further in this letter.

With 12 seasons under your belt as the Anaheim Ducks General Manager and over 20 years with the organization, it is clear that you love this team. We appreciated the initiative you took in 2018-19 when you, yourself, stepped out of the front office and behind the bench, taking over the reins as head coach after firing your long time friend Randy Carlyle.

Nevertheless, the team has not seen any improvement since then. While we love this team, we are disappointed in the outcome. There have been too many broken promises, and for that, you have lost trust with the fans. It may be a little head-scratching as to what comes next for the Anaheim Ducks while you are still in power. But, fear not, for the fans are here to lend a helping hand!

Honesty Goes a Long Way

For years, all we have wanted is a little transparency. Nevertheless, I think it’s yourself that you need to be honest with. Why are you in such a hurry to end the rebuild that you never even really started? Maybe a retool on the fly, but not much of a rebuild. We’d be okay if you fully embraced a proper rebuild. In fact, we have been embracing the tank for quite a few years. It brought us Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, and Jacob Perrault, did it not?

Whatever direction you take, all we ask is that you’re honest with us throughout the process. Take notes from the New York Rangers. When they started their rebuild in 2018, their first order of business was making sure their fans knew exactly where the organization stood:

"“As we approach the trade deadline later this month and into the summer, we will be focused on adding young, competitive players that combine speed, skill and character. This may mean we lose some familiar faces, guys we all care about and respect. While this is part of the game, it’s never easy. Our promise to you is that our plans will be guided by our singular commitment: ensuring we are building the foundation for our next Stanley Cup contender.”"

As fans who are dedicated to a team, it is very difficult to be kept in the dark. Especially when, from out of your mouth we hear one thing, but on the ice, we see another. We need you to address these issues. Not just privately within the organization, but publically to your fans. And we need something more than the old run of the mill excuses that find their way to our Twitter feeds via media outlets.

There is a Solution is Sitting in the AHL

With the current state of the Anaheim Ducks, there isn’t a lot you can barter with. At least, not something that will garner a big return. That, my friend, is why you lost out on PLD in your negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

From what we can gather, you were unwilling to give up one of Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale, and for that, we commend you. Nevertheless, this brings up an even bigger issue. Outside of these two, what assets do you possess that bring value to the organization? If another team puts out feelers for a big trade, what do you have to offer?

The Anaheim Ducks currently need scoring, and if a trade cannot be made with the assets currently on this team, the next best solution is sitting in the AHL. Granted, it is understandable that you would rather not rush the development of your younger players. However, you have seen it with your own eyes; Trevor Zegras is too good for the AHL and he shone in the international spotlight.

Open the door and give him the opportunity to hone his skills in the big club. He could be the missing piece to the puzzle. While he is a natural passer, much like Ryan Getzlaf, his goal-scoring potential is not something to dismiss. And quite frankly, Anaheim Ducks fans could use something to cheer for this season.

Say Goodbye to Dallas Eakins

There is an argument that could be made for Eakins to stay. Randy Carlyle was given numerous chances. Why can’t Dallas be afforded that same luxury? Last year, his season was cut short by the pandemic, and this season, there are extenuating circumstances. Nevertheless, we both know that if the Anaheim Ducks are to make any kind of noise in the playoffs, Dallas Eakins is not the man to lead them to the Stanley Cup. At least, not on his own.

It seems like a cruel joke knowing that you interviewed Rick Bowness for the job, just to watch his Dallas Stars make it to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Gerard Gallant is currently on the open market, and we saw what he did for the Vegas Golden Knights before they shockingly fired him last year. Even Rikard Gronborg has several accolades to his name throughout his time as a coach. Yet, Eakins biggest claim to fame is his relationship with the kids.

Putting aside his failures in Edmonton, Eakins has failed to deliver on what you promised. Since he took over behind the bench, the kids haven’t really progressed at all. Sam Steel, Troy Terry, Max Jones, Jacob Larsson, and Max Comtois have yet to have their big breakout in the NHL. Eakins’ familiarity with the boys was supposed to help prepare them to be the future of the Anaheim Ducks. Yet, none of them have taken that big step forward.

Players who have left the organization over the last year have been seen thriving in their new environment. Most notably, Nick Ritchie with the Boston Bruins. It’s unfortunate to see players who could have made an impact on our roster take flight under a coach who has known success in this new age of hockey.

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There are other issues with his coaching methods that pose a problem. The fact that he doesn’t like running drills or morning skates doesn’t settle well. There is evidence that suggests both are beneficial, especially for the younger players. The more often a player does something, the more it becomes second nature. This could be a good explanation as to why, on most nights, the Anaheim Ducks look slow. And in a league that is beginning to shift their focus to speed and skill, a team with neither doesn’t look good amongst their competition.

While the Anaheim Ducks have a chance at making the postseason with the current setup, if this was a normal season, Dallas Eakins’ coaching methods would not stand up against the rest of the league. The good news for the Ducks is, half of the West Division doesn’t know what they’re doing, giving them better odds at sneaking into 4th place.

We Need Help

If you take away one thing from this letter I hope that it is this: the Anaheim Ducks are in desperate need of help. The only way they are going to get that help is if you do something, and fast. There are so many solutions, and we’ve given you plenty of options to work with.

The way I see, there are two roads you can take. Embrace the tank and start a proper rebuild or take a risk and make a bold move that will provide a solution to the issues. It’s time to stop doing things half-heartedly, attempting to put a bandaid over the problem hoping it will be a quick fix.

The fans aren’t willing to look the other way anymore. The ball is your court, Bob Murray. There is only so much patience one can exude. Your recent involvement in trade rumors has given us a little bit of hope, but there needs to be more execution on your end. We look forward to the rest of the season, hoping that, once again, we can find joy in watching the Anaheim Ducks.

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