Ducks Find Potential Successor in Madden Promotion

For the past 12 seasons, Martin Madden has been the Anaheim Ducks’ Director of Amateur Scouting. As of Tuesday, he’s now the club’s new Assistant General Manager. He’ll still oversee the Ducks’ amateur scouting, but will now add professional scouting to his duties as well as taking on more responsibility in hockey operations decisions. The architect of the Ducks’ draft success over the last decade, he’ll now bring that expertise to all personnel decisions.

Prior to joining the Ducks organization, Madden spent three years as an amateur scout for the Carolina Hurricanes, seven years as an amateur scout for the New York Rangers and began his career scouting for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Bob Murray’s Tenure

For as long as Martin Madden has been with the Ducks’ organization, Bob Murray has been the general manager of the team. The 2019-20 season was Murray’s 12th with the club after he replaced Brian Burke midway through the 2008-09 season. His contract was set to expire at the end of this season, but he signed a contract extension back in 2018 that has him under contract through 2021-22. With the Seattle expansion draft set for June 2021, it seems like a strategic plan to have Murray oversee that period and then allow the club to move in a different direction.

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It’s not a forgone conclusion that Murray won’t be brought back after his contract expires, but with the Ducks in a period of transition, he might be next to follow Randy Carlyle out the door.

Bob Murray
Bob Murray, General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Over his tenure with the Ducks, Murray has an all-time record of 488-323-11 and has overseen three different coaches in Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau and Dallas Eakins. In 2013-14, he won the NHL award for General Manager of the Year, his first and only time receiving the accolade.

He’s been heavily criticized over the years for not making the big moves to get the Ducks over the hump and for handicapping them with bad contracts, like Clayton Stoner and Kevin Bieksa. Ducks’ fans have seemingly grown tired of a regime that’s maybe gone on longer than it should have. That’s not to say that Murray is the sole reason for the Ducks’ shortcomings, but some accountability for their troubles has to come from the general manager, and we just haven’t seen it. The only mistake that he’s openly admitted to is not being more hands-on with Dallas Eakins in his first season behind the Ducks’ bench.

I kind of backed off and gave everybody space, I didn’t feel I could be around as much. I had to let Dallas and the crew [have space]. In hindsight, that’s a mistake.

Bob Murray (from ‘Ducks’ Bob Murray expects ‘big step forward’ after disappointing season,’ Los Angeles Times, 06/03/2020)

The rest of his press conference was focused on how the players and coaching staff could be better leading up to the 2020-21 season. No mention of how himself, the architect of that team, might be the root of some of the problems. Enough criticism, because it’s not like Murray has never done anything to help this franchise succeed. He oversaw one of the most successful periods in franchise history and came within a few Game 7s of making the Stanley Cup Final. However, with a new coach and an influx of young players, it might be time for a change. Enter Martin Madden.

Is Madden Next In Line?

Recently the Ducks have expressed the desire to promote individuals from within their organization. The most recent evidence of this is the promotion of Eakins to head coach after he spent four seasons with the San Diego Gulls. Madden could be the next to follow this trend with his promotion to assistant GM. By the time Murray’s contract is up, Madden will have spent two seasons in the position, presumably learning all he’d need to know to take over the main job. It’s all speculation at this point, but it seems like a logical path for the team to take.

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Madden has been the key figure behind the Ducks’ success at the NHL Entry Draft over the last decade. Finding the likes of Sami Vatanen in the fourth round, Josh Manson in the sixth round and Ondrej Kase in the seventh round, Madden has made a name for himself in being able to find NHL caliber talent outside of the first three rounds. Obviously not all the credit goes to Madden – there is an entire team behind the scenes that contributes – but it’s his department and he deserves the respect. He’ll now take that success and expertise to the professional scouting side where the Ducks’ have notably not been as successful and will weigh in on personnel decisions including trades.

Martin Madden Brayden Tracey Anaheim Ducks Henry Samueli
Director of Amateur Scouting Martin Madden, Brayden Tracey, 29th overall pick of the Anaheim Ducks, and owner Henry Samueli pose for a photo onstage with team personnel during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, June 21, 2019. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

He’ll have his chance to make a mark and prove he’s the right man to take over for Murray once his contract expires. However, for now the focus remains on preparing for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft where the Ducks have a good shot at their first top-five selection since 2005, when they drafted Bobby Ryan second overall. There’s been no update yet on whether current assistant general manager Dave Nonis still retains his title. I’d expect more details to come in the next few days.

Make sure to check out our Anaheim Ducks draft content leading up to Friday’s draft lottery! We’ve got write-ups on each of the projected top-10 prospects as well as a 2020 NHL Draft Lottery Primer on the way.