For a team that has long struggled to become that kind of team, a destination team, a team that can create a culture of winning that is attractive to top players, the moment was not lost on Anaheim general manager Bob Murray.
“Well, just the fact that he gave the two teams he wanted to go to, [it] was very positive for us to be included in that, because not always have we been included in things like this. To me it means our organization’s going in the right direction,” Murray told reporters shortly before the start of the annual draft.
“After the season in reviewing things, we knew we had to fill that -- not that he’s a second line center -- but we knew we needed someone behind Ryan Getzlaf,” Murray said. "I think this is a huge move for our hockey team. I think we’re better today than we were yesterday."
The acquisition gives the Ducks a formidable one-two punch with Hart Trophy finalist Getzlaf and former Frank J. Selke Trophy winner Kesler.
“Well he’s a very good playoff player," Murray said. "He’s a heart and soul guy. We weren’t very good on faceoffs all year; he’s very good on faceoffs. He’s an excellent penalty killer. He can play the power play. Just having those two guys back to back, the two Ryans, it makes Mr. Getzlaf’s life a little easier I think right now, too. So I think we’re going to be a harder team to play against.
“Obviously our division and the whole Western Conference is very difficult and going up against the L.A.'s, the San Jose's and even Dallas. I think Dallas is on the way now, so our middle had to get stronger. ... We just had to get stronger down the middle of the ice,” Murray said.