The Anaheim Ducks came into this season arguable one of the best teams in the league…on paper.
After finishing one game shy of a berth to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, they added players like Carl Hagelin and Kevin Bieksa during the offseason to shore up deficiencies in hopes of winning the Cup this season.
As it stands right now, however, the Ducks won’t even make the playoffs.
It’s easy to look around and see where the team is underachieving. Anaheim is dead last in the Western Conference (yes, even behind Edmonton). They are second to last in the league. Ryan Getzlaf, who had 25 goals last season, has just one in 29 games this year. Ryan Kesler, who posted 20 goals and 47 points in 81 games last year, has just four goals and 12 points in 33 games this year.
And nobody can seem to figure out what’s wrong with the team.
But Ducks General Manager Bob Murray took an opportunity to step up and share where he thinks the blame lies—a view that certainly won’t sit well with many of the players.
“Let’s be clear on one thing: Putting all the blame on the incoming players would be totally unfair,” Murray said. “We had far too many returning players who decided training for this season was optional, thus a poor start. After succeeding during the past few regular seasons, suddenly we are underachieving and having to handle adversity, and some are not physically prepared to work through the challenge.”
So where does the team go from here? According to Murray, a major shakeup could be part of the solution if things don’t improve quickly.
“At this point, I don’t think any player could be surprised or shocked if he were to be traded,” Murray said.
Does that include franchise cornerstones like Getzlaf and Perry, or high priced talent like Kesler? We’ll see.