The Anaheim Ducks stole the show Saturday as the NHL draft wrapped up, making a pair of trades and signaling that they’re not quite done, either.
Why? Because being one game away from the Stanley Cup finals isn’t good enough.
"We didn’t win. We didn’t win. The object is to win, isn’t it?" Ducks general manager Bob Murray said Saturday.
The shrewd GM picked up Carl Hagelin from the New York Rangers in a deal that cost him Emerson Etem and involved picks, but to me the clear winner there was Anaheim. In Hagelin, they get a lightning-fast skater with a high hockey IQ whose game is more mature than the younger, inconsistent Etem.
It’s not like the Rangers wanted to move Hagelin, a restricted free agent on July 1. It was the salary cap forcing them into a deal, and the Ducks benefited from it. The desire to add more speed was key.
"You see who’s in the finals and you see how we got beat [by Chicago], the speed element of the game is getting bigger and bigger and bigger," said Murray. "So we have to move along with the times. We got a guy who can really skate, so we’re quite excited about that."
They also had a plan to add goalie depth and got it done while also creating cap flexibility, dealing James Wisniewski and his $5.5 million cap hit to the Hurricanes for goalie Anton Khudobin ($2.25 million hit).
"This was because of what we went through last year, chasing around goalies," said Murray, who signed Ilya Bryzgalov last season when John Gibson got hurt. "Now we’ve got some depth again. So we’ll see how things work at the start of the season."
Social media Saturday immediately wondered about Gibson’s future after the Khubodin pickup gave the Ducks three goalies, but Murray’s cheeks reddened as he emphatically ended any speculation about a Gibson deal.
"John Gibson is not getting traded, so put that out there. John Gibson is not getting traded," huffed Murray.
The Ducks still have nice flexibility moving forwards and aren’t done.
"There’s a few things out there we’re looking at," said Murray. "We’ll see how it goes July 5 or 6."
Which is a way of saying the Ducks will see where other teams are at and who's available when the dust settles after the first few days of free agency.