Bob Murray didn’t add to his team but he also didn’t subtract from it either. And that made the resurgent Ducks a happy squad as it tries to continue its push for a berth in the postseason.
Murray, the Ducks’ general manager, once thought he would be a seller at Monday’s NHL trade deadline as did just about everyone else in hockey. But his club answered his challenge with a 17-4-4 run that got them to within six points of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
And as the deadline passed, Bobby Ryan was still with the club. As was Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne. And also Jason Blake, Niklas Hagman and Lubomir Visnovsky.
Not one player from the roster was dealt. Murray made two minor-league trades but didn’t want to disturb his team’s groove after being 20 points out on Jan. 6.
“Obviously a while back, we kind of challenged this group,” said Murray, referring to his comments on Jan. 4 that only Selanne and Saku Koivu were not tradeable. “They responded. Since way back on Jan. 1, I don’t know who has been better in this league than our team.
“They have earned the opportunity, deserved the opportunity and wanted the opportunity to continue. We just stayed out of the way.”
Instead of selling off valuable assets for the highest price, Murray said he went into Monday looking to bolster his lineup for a run at the playoffs. He said he “dabbled in a couple of things” but found the cost too much for his liking.
Mostly, this was about a once-underachieving Ducks team that was rewarded by not being broken up.
“Going in, we tried to look at a couple of things that might even help,” he said. “You look back at late December, we’re thinking about selling. You come to today and because of how well they’ve played, you’re almost thinking, ‘Well, maybe we can get in on something here.
“They made it real difficult here the last couple of weeks. Good for them. I have no problem with that.”
Blake joked that the Ducks’ run “screwed everything up” for those disappointed by a largely quiet deadline day.
The veteran winger, who’s in the final year of the five-year contract he originally signed with Toronto, said that he and others wanted to remain part of what the Ducks have built over the past seven weeks.
“A couple of months ago, everybody was talking about how they’re going to do this and do this,” Blake said. “It just shows the character of the guys in the locker room and the perseverance that we’ve shown.
“We’ve got a good group of guys. We’ve shown that when we’ve played well and we play together, it works out. We just got to make sure to continue to do that.”
–It was a quiet trade deadline day for the Ducks as they made only two moves involving minor leaguers. Defenseman Mark Fraser was sent to Toronto for right wing Dale Mitchell, who has mostly played in the ECHL with Reading. Fraser never played a game for the club as he logged 25 games with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch after being acquired from New Jersey on Dec. 12 along with fourth-line C Rod Pelley for D Kurtis Foster and G Timo Pielmeier. The other deal had one-time winger Andrew Gordon sent to Vancouver for D Sebastian Erixon, who was playing for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Gordon has two goals, three assists and a minus-10 rating in 37 games with the Ducks. Mitchell and Erixon will report to Syracuse. –The Ducks are in the middle of a stretch in which they play 14 games during a 25-day span. It began with an eight-game road trip that started in Detroit on Feb. 10 and ended last week in Carolina. After a brief two-day break, the Ducks were back at it on Sunday against Chicago and traveled to Colorado on Monday in a stretch of five games in seven days this week. They won’t have another two-day break until after next week’s home game against Edmonton — but that comes before a three-game road trip. “This part of the year is a grind for a lot of teams,” C Rod Pelley said. “Every team basically. Every game is a playoff atmosphere game. We’re in a position where we can’t afford to have a night off or not have energy or be sluggish. Whatever it maybe be. Unfortunately we just can’t afford that right now.” –The Ducks will keep rookie RW Devante Smith-Pelly with the club for the remainder of the season rather than send him back to his junior team, the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. The club could have sent him to juniors before Sunday’s game against Chicago so that this season would not start his clock toward arbitration status and unrestricted free agency but the move has long been expected. Smith-Pelly has three goals and three assists in
QUOTE TO NOTE: “The days off that we have, we just got to use those days to really take care of our body and be ready for games. We do have the time to get some rest. That game was right there for us in the third. We had 20 minutes left to go. We just couldn’t respond to their push. It’s alright. We’ll regroup tomorrow and go back at it against Buffalo.” — Ducks D Francois Beauchemin, on a 4-1 loss to Colorado during a stretch of 14 games in 25 days.
ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: –G Jonas Hiller allowed four goals to Colorado, marking the first time he’s allowed that many in a start since Feb. 1 against Dallas when he gave up a season-high six. Hiller allowed only three twice in the 12 games in between and two or fewer in the other nine. –RW Bobby Ryan scored his 23rd goal of the season Monday. Ryan has two goals over his last four games but only four over his last 16 since he tallied twice in a Jan. 22 home win over Colorado. –RW Andrew Cogliano got an assist on Bobby Ryan’s goal against Colorado, giving him points in consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 15-18 against Vancouver and Phoenix. Cogliano started on the third line but played a couple of shifts on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. –D Cam Fowler had a point against Colorado to give him three over his last four games. But Fowler was also a minus-2 against the Avalanche and is now a minus-20 that is the worst on the team.
MEDICAL WATCH –G Dan Ellis continues to rehabilitate after tearing his groin muscle during a Jan. 7 practice. Ellis, who has had a groin issue throughout the season, is skating on his own in Anaheim but has yet to take any shots in goal. He is out indefinitely.