Bob Murray’s frustration with the performance of the Anaheim Ducks this season won’t get in the way of his desire to make the right trade.
A week after the Ducks general manager announced Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu were his only untouchable players, the roster remained intact when the team touched down in Calgary for the start of a swing through Western Canada.
“I’ve become a very patient person in my life, which people find funny,” Murray said Wednesday in an interview. “I will wait and do the right thing for the organization when it’s there.”
Murray’s phone has been busy since he publicly declared a willingness to make drastic changes Jan. 4, but there’s been nothing to prompt him into action.
Any trade is difficult to make in the NHL these days, let alone one as significant as the type Murray is open to. He’s made it clear that any team interested in marquee players like Ryan Getzlaf or Bobby Ryan will have to send impact players back in return.
“We play in southern California,” Murray explained. “It won’t go over going to the bottom for a few years like other teams do and getting a first-round pick and then a third and then a first, building that way. I’d love to do that some day but it won’t be done in southern California because there’ll be no one left in the building.
“That’s why I’ve got to listen to anybody talking about any of our players.”
Interestingly, the Ducks have won three straight games since players learned of Murray’s comments, although the GM didn’t seem particularly encouraged by the modest stretch of improved play.
Anaheim still sits 14th in the Western Conference with a 13-22-6 record heading into Thursday’s game against Calgary. The Ducks visit Edmonton on Friday and Vancouver on Sunday.
The team is currently carrying its two American Hockey League goaltenders—Iiro Tarkki and Jeff Deslauriers—because Jonas Hiller and Dan Ellis are both nursing injuries. Hiller is listed as a day to day with a “little bump on his knee,” according to Murray.
“It’s very painful to play with right now and we’re going to give him some time,” he said. “We’ll give Jonas a little time because we’ve got to get him going. … Jonas hasn’t been himself this year and that’s hurt us because we count on him.
“He’s a huge part of our hockey team.”
Even though the Ducks have yet to make any moves that grab headlines, Murray has been tinkering with the organization. Earlier this week, he installed scout Trent Yawney as a coach with the AHL affiliate in Syracuse.
The Crunch have endured their own struggles this season and Murray wants to create a better environment for his prospects.
“In order for the Anaheim Ducks to be competitive … we must be developing players,” he said. “We have to be drafting better and we have to be developing better and we have to do all the little things that I think are huge things. …
“It’s the only way we’re going to survive in Anaheim.”
There’s still a hint of disbelief in Murray’s voice while discussing what has gone wrong with his franchise in recent months—a stretch that saw head coach Randy Carlyle replaced by Bruce Boudreau.
A year ago, the Ducks finished fourth in the West and watched as Corey Perry claimed the Hart Trophy. With virtually the same core, they’re a long way from those lofty heights now.
“I had been quiet and patient,” said Murray. “Obviously, when you go through a year where it’s been as bad as it is, where you let a really good coach go and you don’t see some response, you have to question everything. That’s what I’m doing.
“I’m taking a look at the whole hockey club top to bottom and examining it because it’s not good enough, what’s gone on here.”