Lots of speculation in Anaheim right now on the kind of move they need to make in order to snap out of the tailspin that they have found themselves in. There are usually three paths to take during such a time:
1. Fire the coach:
"It's easier to change one person than trade 3 or 4."
Even with the poor start it seems unlikely considering Carlyle signed his new extension this past August. Also you have Anaheim players taking ownership for their faulty play this year.
Some thoughts from Selanne:
"It's not about coach," Selanne said. "One thing: team discipline. That includes a lot of stuff. Playing with the system, not taking penalties, not turning the puck over, not doing those mistakes in the critical areas. We are not doing that.
"That's not disciplined hockey. Especially when you don't have the confidence, all the fancy stuff should just be put away and just put the work boots on. Put the puck deep. Don't give them turnovers. And just work. And we're not even doing that. Like some times, five minutes, 10 minutes we do that, and then we start slipping in our game plan."
Carlyle's approach/style has worked well in the past, it seems as though for whatever reason this year the players are on their own agenda, thus always leaving the possibility of a coaching change.
2. Trading players:
This is most likely the route the Ducks will head in if they choose to make some moves. Then the obvious question becomes who will be on the block. Given that the Ducks lack quality depth at the center position you can automatically scratch Getzlaf off that list. Corey Perry is a defending league MVP with a really great cap hit so he is not going anywhere. Selanne would probably not even accept a trade to Winnipeg so he is not leaving. Fowler is the future of their defense thus staying put.
That leaves a player like Bobby Ryan as the most attractive chip that Anaheim has. Young, skilled, high compete level, and a great cap hit considering what he brings to the table. On the surface it looks like it may be a good idea for Anaheim to move him to the highest bidder, and there will be plenty of teams interested which can only drive the value up (especially the man who drafted him in Brian Burke). However when I look at the reality of the situation in Anaheim trading Bobby Ryan would end up being nothing more than a fruitless panic move.
Realistically being in the position they are in right now in the Western Conference it would be a monumental task to get back into the thick of things for the playoffs. Whatever they get for Bobby Ryan is most likely not going to change their playoff hopes for this season (unless it is a monster trade in which the other team vastly overpays).
Looking at how the Duck's roster is structured it appears that there is a lot to be desired from the second line in the scoring department. You can't expect a 41 year old Selanne to anchor the line on his own even if he is still fantastic. Losing Jason Blake to his injury hurt their depth for secondary scoring and has put the crunch on fellow linemates Selanne and Koivu. The secondary scoring has to improve.
This leads me to my main point on why the Ducks should not be trading Bobby Ryan right now because of a crumby start to this season. The Ducks have plenty of contracts coming off the books for next year. Notably their entire second line Selanne, Blake, and Koivu. Hagman's money is off the books as well as Beauchemin's.
Adding up all of their cap hits (17.3M) and their current cap space (2.5M) you are left with 19.8 million in cap space next off season. I cannot assume the Ducks will use all of it but I imagine they will spend to what the status quo is now, leaving them with 17.3M to spend.
Instead of making a panic move like trading Bobby Ryan and breaking up the best line in hockey, why not be patient and chalk the season up as a loss and smartly build to the future. If Bob Murray is worth his salt that 17.3M in contracts coming off of the books should be more than enough to field a competent second line as well as another competent defensemen. Hypothetically that is four 4M/yr players with some change left over. That would improve any team. The best part is you would not be giving up any assets to do it as well.
Bobby Ryan may very well become the martyr for the Duck's slow start but there are at least two other significant problems for the poor start. The first being that Visnovsky has been out for an extended period of time. Fowler is not quite seasoned enough to be able to carry the load on his own in top pairing minutes, this has hurt Anaheim. Visnovsky was a great addition to the Ducks team and they are severely missing the offensive abilities he brings to the table. Offensive abilities that can help alleviate some of the secondary scoring issues.
Most important in the Ducks struggles this year is that Hiller has not been close to his brilliant self since coming back from Vertigo. When healthy he is a Vezina threat, but this year he has been far from it (a fact my fantasy team is well aware of). Some of the goals Hiller has allowed this year are the kind that leaves a team down on it's luck even more mentally deflated/devastated. Consistently allowing soft goals with a team searching for itself is a perfect storm for drops in motivation and smart play. It makes a team feel like they are always climbing uphill even if they are indeed playing well. Until Hiller and/or Ellis provide competent and consistent goaltending it really does not make a difference who or what Anaheim trades. I hope Hiller figures it out because he is one of the league's finest when he is on.
The third option for change is a new GM
: By far the most unlikely of the scenarios as it stands right now. But something tells me if Bobby Ryan is shipped off and the trend continues this year and next and the freed up cap space is not utilized properly, Mr. Murray will indeed be a part of the changes in Anaheim, but unfortunately too late for Duck fans.
The moral of this story is do not make panic trades with a 24 year old 30 goal scorer with sand paper and a quality work ethic, who also has a quality cap hit. Think long term Mr. Murray it will be better for both the team and your job.