Captain Ryan Getzlaf
and the Ducks
have the potential to do big things for GM Bob Murray. (John W. McDonough/SI)
By Allan Muir
A second-round loss cost general manager Ray Shero his job in Pittsburgh.
The same result earned Bob Murray an extension in Anaheim.
It speaks more to the perceived direction of both clubs, rather than different expectations, that Murray was rewarded with four years of security in the wake of his team's postseason failure. The Ducks were eliminated by a lower seed after holding a 3-2 series lead for the second consecutive season, and part of that loss has to fall on Murray for his inability, or unwillingness, to add secondary scoring help prior to the trade deadline. Dean Lombardi's Kings clearly benefited from his bold gambit to acquire Marian Gaborik from Columbus as they knocked off Anaheim in seven.
But if his short game needs work, there's no questioning what Murray has in place for the long haul. He's got his core stars, MVP finalist Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, inked through 2021. He has a defense built around a quartet of young, skilled blueliners in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Ben Lovejoy. Devante Smith-Pelly, Jakob Silfverberg and Emerson Etem have top-six potential on the wings. And in John Gibson, Murray has the consensus No. 1 goaltending prospect in the game. Add in the 10th overall pick that he acquired last summer in the Bobby Ryan deal, and the Ducks have a talent pipeline that is the envy of the league.
But you can only sell potential for so long, and the pressure will mount on Murray to bring the Ducks another Stanley Cup over the course of this extension. He needs to add some veteran speed and skill to the second line and some bite to his bottom six. Some experience would go a long way on the back end as well. And it might take parting with some of his coveted prospects to get this team where it needs to be.
Murray earned this four-year window. Now it's up to him to go boldly through it.