Nashville Predators v Anaheim Ducks

It’s not that black and white, of course, but were I the General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks, I would be actively pursuing a possible trade for widely-beloved offense-first Big Body Ryan Getzlaf, and possibly former Hart Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion Corey Perry  (Jason Brough wrote the opposite on Perry here at Pro Hockey Talk). Both will be unrestricted free agents this summer – as in, they can sign with anyone – and neither seems to want to sign an extension before hitting the open market (though Getzlaf is apparently the more willing of the two). They could lose them both for nothing by taking a run at the Cup.

Let me explain my opinion here:

This is the Anaheim Ducks, not the Vancouver Canucks or Toronto Maple Leafs. That means that this isn’t a team who’s that far removed from winning the Cup (2007), so there’s less desperation. There is less clamoring for this team to Get It Done At All Costs from their fans and media, as much as they’d like the team to win it all.

This is also Anaheim, which again, is not Philadelphia or Chicago. That means that if their team is terrible for an extended period of time, there is no guarantee of continued attendance and interest. It’s not that California doesn’t love is its hockey, but even Californian hockey fans would note that it’s not the same there as it is in Canada or the big US markets (if they aren’t willing to, they’re wrong). It’s a niche sport in the state, it’s not The Sport.

What those things mean, is that maintaining a good club there matters, which is okay. That’s allowed. Peaks and valleys are less desirable in a 30-team league where there’s no guarantee of the peak, no matter how good you may be. And, the Ducks have enough good young talent that if they add to it, they can maintain a competitive team for many years to come, which has to be awfully appealing in the eyes of team ownership, and thus, for the GMs job security. 

Also, moving Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf doesn’t automatically mean you can’t win the Stanley Cup this season, especially if you get a quality roster player in return. You probably won’t win it, but you probably won’t either way (reality check), and letting Perry and/or Getzlaf walk as unrestricted free agents this summer (should) more or less mean your job. You can’t let that happen; they are not the type of assets you should take that type of risk with.

The Anaheim Ducks are, for now, caught in the shadow of the Chicago Blackhawks, but if you’re half a hockey fan, you haven’t missed what they’re doing. They’re 16-3-3, good for second in the entire NHL, and first in the Pacific Conference by nine points, ahead of Los Angeles who is 8-2-0 in their last 10. They are undeniably kicking ass.

But also, they’re overachieving. PDO more-or-less measures luck in the NHL (for a thorough explanation, read here), and they’re currently atop the league and most likely to regress. Shooting 11.4%, well above average, isn’t alllll that likely to hold – they’re likely to start scoring less, and soon.

Here’s the chart, via Cam Charron and NHL Numbers (March 4th edition - ignore the Leafy highlights, which are in for Cam’s Leafs post):

PDO m4

Obviously the most important thing to do for the Ducks GM Bob Murray to do is to get a feel for his two superstars. Do they intend to re-sign with the Ducks if there isn’t a dream contract out there? Is this just about money, or do they want to move? These are not considerations to take lightly – if you truly believe you can re-sign them in the summer, obviously you don’t pull the trigger. But MAN – I would need some real guarantee to not risk losing them for jack spit.

You can no doubt turn Corey Perry into a quality roster player, a good prospect and a good pick. That’s no small potatoes. You shouldn’t have any doubt about his value as a rental, or Ryan Getzlaf’s.

If I’m Bob Murray, I’m not playing with fire. I take my chances with a pretty good hockey club likely drawing a low seed in round one, and guarantee that my team isn’t losing one or two first line forwards for nothing but an apology.

So, let’s discuss: you’re Bob Murray – you keeping Getzlaf and Perry and taking the risk for a run at the Cup, or are you covering your backside? You know where I stand.

Comments (29)

  1. the elephant in the room also is that Koivu (38), Lydman (35) and Selanne (42) are UFA after this year, one or two might retire soon and even the immortal Selanne must surely begin to age at some point. Tough one to pull off as a GM though, a lot of fans will hate you for trading away the franchise pillars in the middle of such a good year. If the new team you put together can’t make a decent run, it’s gonna look really bad. Although Burke is over there now….

    Maybe those guys have had the taste of the Cup in their mouths all these years, and want to play on a team with a good chance while they are still in their good years?

    • Yeah, and getting rid of a key guy like Perry may be enough to push some of these older guys into retirement sooner rather than later, since the team looks less capable of a cup run…

  2. If they trade both they can really set themselves up nicely for the next several years. Each player may net a young controllable player with maybe a high upside youngster yet to make it or a good draft pick. Build the next great Ducks team for sure.

    • Yeah, something like what Philly got in return for Jeff Carter is probably what JB is talking about… Voracek plus the picks that yielded Couturier (8th-overall pick) and Nick Cousins (3rd-rounder, was OHL leading scorer before suspension). Jeff Carter still had 100 years left on his deal, but Perry and Getzlaf are more highly regarded, so they could possibly fetch that kind of haul as rentals.

  3. It would be pretty interesting to see them hit the open market. I can’t believe they are going to get the “offer you can’t refuse” this year. The cap is going down and most of the big spending teams are going to be looking to shed salary not absorb more. It’s just a tough market to be becoming a free agent in. Especially since teams can no longer just put bad contacts in the AHL or Europe to free up cap space. I think those contracts count against their caps still under the new CBA. I feel like Anaheim would give them a better deal then the open market.

  4. If you are Bob Murray and you trade either Perry or Getzlaf, and then when (not if), your team regresses to the mean since they have such high luck factor now, you look like the chump who ruined the team. I’m not sure about you, but I think Murray would like to keep his job.

    Dealing with stars who might leave is bad business all around. Even so, just because they aren’t willing to talk extention right now (and it’s not entirely clear that Getzlaf is in that boat) doesn’t mean that they won’t be willing to sign. I’d pick up the phone, hammer out a deal with Getzlaf (who is somewhat willing to talk), and then make a decision on Perry. Maybe you have to trade him, but then again, everyone knows he’s a UFA, so it’s not like you’re going to get premium return for Perry (though there would be a decent haul). Think of it this way: When the Thrashers traded Kovalchuk (similar situation), they got: Bergfors, Oduya, Cormier, and a 1st (Melchiori). Is that a good return? I mean, I know Oduya is doing well now (for another team), but really?

    • Scratch that, not Melchiori.

    • Or, potentially, you dont trade either. The team still regresses, and probably makes the playoffs but get kicked in the first round, and you look like a chump for not taking advantage of making some “brilliant” trades.

      I think this guy is fucked either way.

      • Totally agree. It’s just a bad situation. That’s why it’s best to off-set the contracts of your best players…though you don’t always have a choice.

  5. Justin…HEY!!!!….STOP IT WITH THE TRADE TALK!!!!..plus neither of them wants to go to Brooklyn.

  6. Boy that PDO stat bothers me. It completely disregards the talent of the shooter saying that everyone should be equal. If Steven Stamkos and John Scott have the puck in the exact same position, their PDO is going to be very different and that has nothing to do with luck.

    I see where you’re coming from saying they should be traded, but I don’t see how someone within the organization can actually have a point of view like that. Sure they’re probably not going to win the cup, but how often are you the second best team in the league? Does a GM ever sit down and think, “man, we are overperforming”? I don’t think so, every year you hear management thinking how much better their team actually is. Feaster is a prime example, guaranteeing his team would make the playoffs last year. I would think when your team is overachieving, as a GM you just think they’re meeting expectations.

    • I thought about that too. I mean, Perry, Getzlaf, Selanne, and Ryan are going to push up your shot percentage. That said, most teams have at least a star or two that balance that out. Oh, and the Ducks are overperforming – though they are nowhere near as bad as they looked last year.

    • - “Boy that PDO stat bothers me. It completely disregards the talent of the shooter saying that everyone should be equal.”

      Yeah, don’t forget about the talent of the goalie too.

    • John Scott’s career high PDO – 1.024

      John Scott’s career low PDO – .980

      Steven Stamkos’ career high PDO – 1.024

      Steven Stamkos’ career low PDO – 1.004

      I don’t think a lot of detractors realize just how rare it is for a player to have the talent to push his own shooting percentage ten points in the right direction, and I think it’s bizarre that a lot of detractors think the stat wonks who started using PDO often never asked themselves the same question.

      • And the article cites team PDO which is a larger and more representative sample size than individual players, especially ones like Scott who only log 5 minutes per game.

        But I do like the idea that no one had ever considered this before. “Wait a minute, not all players are equally talented shooters? Back to the laboratory!”

  7. If I was a Ducks fan (I am not) I would be furious if they traded either one of these guys this season. Yeah the are probably overachieving, but what fan of the team is going to think, “crap we are playing way over our heads, lets break this up and get some value?” BS! Any fan out there will want to take a run at the Cup and try to put the pieces back together in the off season.

    Devils Win’s mention of the “haul” the Thrashers got for Kovy is spot on. Not enough value in that to justify the move and that was not a contending team.

  8. What you gain in assets from trading one or both of these guys, you lose in leverage when it comes to July 1st (or whenever you can sign people under the new CBA). There’s two types of desirable free agent out there – guys who want the quan, and guys who want the Cup. If you trade away two pillars of your franchise while you’re sitting in a good playoff position, it makes it very clear that you are not ‘all-in’ on contending for a Cup, and that you don’t have faith in the chances of the guys you have now to get it done. All the assets you gain in any trade are negated by the fact that (a) you fall down the list of desirable destinations for free agents (so you’re going to have to overpay to bring guys in) and (b) your own players feel you don’t believe in them (so you’re going to struggle to retain them when their contracts expire, thus turning the whole thing into a vicious cycle of sensible mediocrity).

  9. These situations are always completely bizarre to me. How does this not boil down to the GM and the players sitting in a room and the GM going “Okay, look, we want to keep you, we can pay about this much, what are your plans?” and the player giving a yes or no answer, there’s some discussion, and either they stay or they don’t. How does it turn into this big mess where no one knows what the other guy is doing and who wants what. I mean they’re all allowed to talk to each other right? What the fuck?

    I mean isn’t this either a salary issue or a “this isn’t working, I want to play elsewhere” issue? How is this not solved months in advance? You have the money or you don’t, he wants to play with this team or he doesn’t.

  10. heres the thing about these sorts of trades.. quite often they dont work worth shit.. atlanta’s sell off sure worked great eh… what teams do is they leak out info on certain prospects they want you to take.. no team ever gives a prospect away it truly believes in for a rental player.. its like a jewellery store, they put all the shit they want you steal up front, keep all the good stuff where someones always got an eye on it, and the only way to get it out of there ( besides flat out armed robbing the place ) is the moneey.. so what i’m saying is i bet we can all name 3 or 4 teams that would be interested in either one of these guys.. come up with a suitable roster player, a 1st or 2nd rounder, and a prospect.. but i guarantee you when you think about that prospect it’ll come after these words.. well they have so and so, but they aint giving him up, but so and so would be a perfect fit for the ducks…. and teams know this, so the teams that are actually interested in acquiring one of the lame ducks are Cody Hodgsoning the shit out of a couple prospects they deem expendable as we speak

  11. It’s all but a sure thing that Ottawa makes an aggressive play for one or both of these dudes.

    Wait for it.

    • Murray will only do a sign and trade for Perry. I think he would send Noesen (Perry 2.0), a first and Greening or Smith.

  12. When was the last time a star player on an expiring contract got what he was worth in a trade?

    • I can’t think of any. That’s my point. You’re almost better off hoping for the best and going for the cup. If you go deep in the playoffs, you’ve got a better shot at re-signing these guys…plus, like you said, the trade return is often terrible. I cited Kovy above, but here’s another fun one:

      Jagr and Frantisek Kucera to the Capitals for Kris Beech, Ross Lupaschuk, Michal Sivek and future considerations.

      How’d that trade work out? Even considering Jagr’s time in Washington was less than stellar…

      • Hossa got garbage in value too. The Penguins came out on top of that trade even if they only got Dupuis from it.

      • GMs are just not going to give up the farm for a guy who might not even sign for them.

  13. If they would be guaranteed to re-sign them, the Oilers really could use a true number one centre, especially one with size. I’d give up one of the assests there (one of the kids, Hemsky, Gagner) for Getzlaf, barring he would re-sign. They also have four picks in the first few rounds that could be part of the mix.

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