After the Anaheim Ducks playoff exit, the GM Bob Murray relieved Bruce Boudreau of his head coaching job. The Ducks won their fourth Pacific Division title in a row, but didn’t make it to the Stanley Cup Final again. Some felt like Boudreau should have been let go, but he wasn’t the only reason why Anaheim didn’t succeed in the postseason. Poor starts in those Game 7’s and the leaders of the team not producing in the big games doomed Anaheim’s last four playoff appearances.
In Anaheim’s last nine closeout games they were outscored 14 to 2 in the first periods. The opposing team scored the first goal in all of those games. The Ducks trailed to start the third period of all nine contests. Ryan Getlzaf has yet to score a goal in a Game 7 in Anaheim. Corey Perry didn’t score a goal in the Nashville series and hasn’t played well in three of the last four postseasons. Boudreau may have been let go, but this is only the beginning of the changes in Anaheim.
Time For A New Captain?
Some have questioned whether or not Ryan Getzlaf should still be the Captain for Anaheim next year. The Ducks have won the Pacific Division the last four years, but came up short in the playoffs. The San Jose Sharks unfortunately accomplished the same feat from 2008 to 2011 in the Pacific Division and also didn’t reach the Stanley Cup Final during that time span. Recently San Jose went with three alternate captains instead of one captain and two alternates in the 2014-15 season. Joe Thornton was the captain for four years, then San Jose went with Joe Pavelski this season. There is plenty that has to be determined when Anaheim gets a new coach, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that a new coach might change who is the captain is in Anaheim or have three alternates instead.
Trade Corey Perry?
Corey Perry has been one of the leaders in Anaheim for many seasons. He led the Ducks in goals scored during the regular season for the past six NHL regular seasons. During the recent postseasons Perry hasn’t performed as well. In the recent series against Nashville he didn’t score a goal. In the three playoff series in 2012-13 and 2013-14, he scored only four goals in 20 games. He did perform well last season when Anaheim came up one game short of the Stanley Cup Final, but outside of that postseason Perry hasn’t produced. Some have suggested Perry should be traded and I don’t think it’s likely that Anaheim would move him as Perry has a no movement clause in his contract, but then again with Boudreau gone anything is possible this summer.
New Year, New Team
Regardless who the new coach is in Anaheim, the team won’t be the same next season. The Ducks have plenty of RFAs and UFAs to try to re-sign. Among the RFAs, Anaheim has Frederik Andersen, Hampus Lindolm, Brandon Pirri, Rickard Rakell, and Sami Vatanen to look at. Anaheim will also have to consider the UFAs which consistent of Shawn Horcoff, Korbinian Holzer, Anton Khudobin, Jamie McGinn, David Perron, Mike Santorelli, and Chris Stewart. Murray won’t be able to bring back everyone next season, but he should try to keep Rakell and Lindholm. He should also consider McGinn and Perron top priorities too amongst the UFAs.
One of the biggest decisions for Murray this season is going to be the goalie situation in net. He has decide whether to go with John Gibson or Frederik Andersen. Gibson has been touted as the future in Anaheim, but it was Andersen who played better between the two in the latter stages of Anaheim’s season. In the beginning of the season it seemed like Andersen might be the one on the way out, but now it seems that Gibson could be also on the chopping block. I wouldn’t rule out the Ducks looking to trade Gibson for the right price. Only time will tell, but the days of the goalie tandem in Anaheim are over with the possibility of an expansion draft looming in 2017. Murray is going to have to make a decision of who he wants to have as his number one goalie and I don’t envy him.
The Ducks will have a new coach next season and a new team as well. The question is whether or not the Ducks will be able to perform better in the playoffs than in the recent postseasons.