ANAHEIM, Calif. — With all of the action for the league’s best team a day before the NHL trade deadline, bigger and better names were expected to come to Anaheim on Wednesday morning. But as the deadline expired, the only action was a swap of minor leaguers.
The Ducks were rumored to be in the mix for two of the day’s prized names, Vancouver center Ryan Kesler and Islanders left winger Thomas Vanek. It came right down to the final minutes with the Ducks still in the mix with Vanek and willing to give up all four of this year’s first- and second-round draft picks. Top prospect Emerson Etem was also rumored to be in the mix, but general manager Bob Murray said it was only the entire load of draft picks.
But as the deadline passed, it was the Montreal Canadians that made a push and got Vanek, the very team the Ducks would host hours later at the Honda Center.
"I thought we were going down the right track for most of the day," Murray said before the Ducks played the Habs. "We were trying to accomplish something, it obviously didn’t get done. It’s funny, you asked me the question about how many picks, I had four this year in the top two rounds. And lets put it this way, every one of those picks was in play today."
Murray: "Yesterday was part of a game plan that we got done at that time. But this team has proven it can play and doesn't need help."
Montreal got Vanek for a conditional second-round pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg, arguably a considerably lower price than what the Ducks were asking for, leaving Murray puzzled but not upset. He was unwilling to move anyone on the current roster for fear of disrupting the run the team has been on all season.
"Confused, but that’s ok," Murray said. "This is a good hockey team here. With (Stephane) Robidas coming in we’ve shored up the defense and I believe it’s a good hockey team. Again, we were not going to put any of our players in that dressing room out there but pretty much every pick we had was out there. There were some pretty hefty things out there."
Murray reiterated that Kesler and Vanek would have only been additional pieces, not necessary pieces. It would have only made an already-dangerous team even more dangerous. Both are dangerous scorers, and Kesler in particular would have been a huge addition at the blue line, but the Ducks are the third-highest scoring team in the league.
"Failed to get anything done, but in saying that, I wasn’t going to and did not offer any player off of this roster because I strongly believe, and I can’t say it enough, that this team is good enough," Murray said. "You always try to make a hockey trade if a hockey trade can be made and just didn’t make a hockey trade today."
Bob Murray on trades: "We were trying to accomplish something, & it didn't get done. I will say I did not offer any player off this roster."
"I can’t state enough that they’ve already proven that they don’t need any help," Murray said. "A lot of good young players are going to have a chance to continue to keep going and we didn’t bring anyone in that’s going to upset the apple cart, which we were very careful of too. I could have taken a couple guys that would have upset the apple cart and I didn’t."