The Anaheim Ducks have given executive vice-president and general manager Bob Murray a few more years to build another winner in southern California.
On Monday afternoon, Murray signed a contract extension to keep him in Anaheim through the 2019-20 season.
Murray, whose contract would have expired after next season, has been the team’s general manager since Nov. 12, 2008, and he was also the senior vice-president of hockey operations beginning in 2005, serving in that role when the Ducks won their first Stanley Cup in 2006-07 while Brian Burke was general manager.
It’s a smart by a Ducks organization committed to building its prospect pool. Since the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the Ducks have done a really good job of finding and developing players to play in their system while building around elite offensive players Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Since his first draft as Anaheim’s general manager in 2009, nine of Murray’s 35 draft picks (2009 – Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen; 2010 – Cam Fowler, Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly; 2011 – Rickard Rakell, John Gibson; 2012 – Hampus Lindholm, Frederik Andersen) were on the Ducks roster for their most recent Stanley Cup playoff run, while other prospects like Nic Kerdiles (second round, 2012) have left college early to sign entry-level contracts with the Ducks.
On the trade front, Murray made a shrewd move to acquire Nick Bonino as part of the trade that sent Travis Moen and Kent Huskins to the San Jose Sharks in 2009. He signed an entry-level deal the following season, and his role in the lineup has gradually increased. Meanwhile, Rakell and Gibson were the picks acquired by the Ducks in 2011 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in order for the Leafs to move up and select Tyler Biggs, who has yet to play an NHL game.
While some may still criticize Murray for the trade sending Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner to Toronto for Francois Beauchemin, he’s done more good than harm in terms of helping the Ducks replenish their system, so it’s a very smart move by the Samueli family to keep Murray in the fold to maintain Anaheim’s status as a strong team in the Western Conference.