Fire Sale in Anaheim

Jason BruckContributor IMarch 6, 2009

The team owner, logo, arena name, and GM were apparently just the “change appetizers” Ducks fans would be asked to swallow now that Anaheim Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray has taken the reins from Brian Burke.

Despite what Murray said in his press conference he HAS sold off players and shortchanged the ducks this season as well as for the foreseeable future.

In letting go of Sammy Pahlsson and Travis Moen, he has destroyed what is arguably the best shut-down line in modern hockey.

This was the only line coach Randy Carlyle hasn’t had to change while the team has descended from imposing to laughable.

In addition, flashbacks to the Andy MacDonald trade are unmistakable as Chris Kunitz has found his home in Pittsburgh, in exchange for yet another defenseman.

The players are responsible for this. They had a year they could have made a serious run at the cup. They just couldn’t get it together, and now an inexperienced GM and lack of solid upper management have made trade deadline mistakes as a result.

Murray argues that in the quest for a Cup repeat, the Ducks have “let assets get away…and got nothing for them.”

What assets have the Ducks lost to free agency and not gotten anything for? Three marquee players have been put on waivers by the ducks in the Burke era (Ilya Bryzgalov, Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi).

While all three of these players have found success with their new teams almost nothing could be gotten for them while they were in Anaheim.

With the exception of Bryzgalov, these players so underperformed as Ducks that they were too risky for other teams to part prospects in trades (we can now add Brendan Morrison to this about getting nothing for your assets).

So Murray, misinterpreting the Ducks past, and panicking about the future just traded away the one thing Anaheim had working for it: the checking line.

None of the players he acquired in the trades seem worth it, but I may be proven wrong about that (see Francois Beauchemin). But even though the players were going to go to free agency, a good GM keeps them in the ranks.

This represents Murray’s lack of confidence in his team and in himself as a GM.

This will make it all but impossible to keep Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermayer or Chris Pronger for any length of time as a crisis of confidence is no doubt sweeping through the organization.

Murray said that if he sees players throwing in the towel in light of this sell-off, he plans on rectifying the situation come draft time. Does the same tough standard apply to the man Murray sees in the mirror?