A week ago in this space, I wrote about how the Anaheim Ducks were contemplating a coaching change as the team dropped eighth straight game. Since then, the Ducks haven’t made the expected change, but they also haven’t won a single game.
GM Bob Murray doesn’t want to pin this on his friend Randy Carlyle. Is he feeling the heat? He absolutely is, but Murray believes the injury has impact his team’s ability this season and that the club may have misread things coming into the season. Carlyle still could be fired if the wins don’t start coming, but it appears Murray has moved to a different set of changes.
On Monday, the Ducks dealt veteran forward Andrew Cogliano to Dallas for Devin Shore. The Ducks get a player seven years younger in Shore and who costs less on the cap. Although Cogliano is the better player today, the Ducks went out and got someone that is going to help them more tomorrow than today. That, in my opinion, is a sign.
It’s a sign that while they still want to win, the Ducks are willing to accept a season outside the playoffs to retool their organization. They know what they are, and that they simply aren’t winning another Stanley Cup with this current core as constructed. Finally, Murray and company are making the hard decision to move out some veterans and reset.
Cogliano Just The Start:
The Cogliano trade is likely to be just the start for the Ducks. Rumors immediately started flying that the team was going to move Jakob Silfverberg next. Although I’ve been told that the Ducks’ top priority with the player is to re-sign him, it is no longer a lock that it happens. The Ducks aren’t sure they will be able to get a deal done with him, and have started to look at trade options for the veteran.
Silfverberg, who has 12-7-19 in 41 games this season, is battling a bit of a down year as he heads towards free agency. That said, the 28-year old has garnered interest from the Boston Bruins as a potential top-six forward option. It’s also my belief that Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers have some interest in the player.
Beyond Silfverberg, there were rumblings as early as August that if this season didn’t go according to plan that Corey Perry’s future was in doubt. Perry suffered an injury in training camp and has yet to play this season, but could return as early as next month. If Perry returns form injury and proves that he can still play, I’d expect the Ducks to put him on the market and see what they can get for him.
Yes, Perry is 33 now and clearly in decline, but there is still a market for the former Hart Trophy winner and 50 goal scorer.
Beyond those two, if Ryan Miller is willing and gets back healthy there could be a market for him. The San Jose Sharks are looking for some goaltending help and he could be of interest behind Martin Jones. Patrick Eaves has really struggled to stay on the ice for a variety of reasons, but if he does get healthy and the Ducks eat some salary he too could be an option at the deadline.
The Right Stuff:
I don’t think it is ever easy to admit that you aren’t good enough. The Ducks, ever since the 2005-06 season, have been trying to win the Stanley Cup and have almost always had a team that could compete. This year is truly different. The guys who were difference makers every year are either too banged up or too old to help anymore, and the next wave simply isn’t at the level that they once were.
It’a a tough reality, but I think Murray is doing the right thing at this time. If you can’t re-sign Silfverberg, go get something that will help you moving forward instead of losing him for nothing. If you can get out from Perry’s contract, make the move. This doesn’t have to be a long rebuild like Edmonton and Buffalo. The Ducks have enough talent where they should be able to retool on the fly, staying somewhat competitive while also getting younger and adapting more to the speed and skill of today’s game.
It might make for a painful spring or two with no playoff hockey in Orange County, but the Ducks are absolutely doing the right thing here. This is just the start of Bob Murray’s retool.