Ducks Executive Vice President & General Manager Bob Murray held a conference call Tuesday afternoon to discuss the trade with the Montreal Canadiens that brought left wing Jiri Sekac
to Anaheim for right wing Devante Smith-Pelly.
On acquiring Sekac for Smith-Pelly
This is two teams making a deal for two young forwards who are the same age, left wing, right wing. I’m not going to speak for Berge [Canadiens Executive Vice President and General Manager Marc Bergevin], but we felt we needed to get a little faster, and a little more skill in our lineup. As evident lately, we needed a little more skill. Montreal, a very skilled hockey team, wanted a little bit more of a rugged up-and-down type of guy. It’s just two teams making a change of young players. Both players were kind of stuck. Devo was stuck behind a bunch of right wingers here. You look at Montreal, Jiri was kind of stuck behind [Max] Pacioretty, [Alex] Galchenyuk and [Michael] Bournival. He got stuck there. It’s two good young players who are just trading teams.
On Sekac’s potential linemates
I have no idea. Bruce [Boudreau] and I talked for a minute this morning about that, and we left it at that. He was playing right wing with Plekanec for the last bunch of games. We’ll let that sort itself out. I don’t know where he’ll fit. I let Bruce make most of those decisions.
On Sekac’s upside
I definitely think he’s one of these Europeans who can skate, who has skill. He’s a little bit of a late bloomer, like some of them are coming from over there, but I think there’s good upside offensively with this guy.
On Smith-Pelly’s progression
I think he got behind people on right wing. You have [Corey] Perry, [Kyle] Palmieri and [Jakob] Silfverberg. He definitely shouldn’t just be playing a fourth-line role, if you know what I’m saying. We tried him a few times at left wing with the big guys, and that sort of worked, but didn’t work. We’re top heavy on right-handed shots here. I have no complaints with Devo, believe me. I was a part of drafting him. It was something we thought we had to make - a hockey trade to change the look of our team a little bit considering what we’ve seen lately.
On if he’s making more moves
I’m always available for a hockey trade. I like hockey trades. At this time of the year, there is a lot of talking going on, but they’re all about rentals. I’m still searching out hockey trades. If I could make one, I would, if it made our team better. I have to make the team better.
On if he’s been searching for a defenseman
As far as a hockey deal, you kick the tires all you can to find out. There are guys out there that you like who are on contracts, but the good ones are hard to pry from teams. I have nothing going right now on a hockey deal for a defenseman, that’s for sure.
On the prices of players on the market
I was talking with [Red Wings Executive Vice President & General Manager] Ken Holland last night, and we were laughing. We were talking about this subject. It’s gone from where you can give one asset – a third-round pick – for a rental, so to speak. Somebody you might have for three months. And maybe if you go to the conference final, that pick gets better. That’s the way it used to be. Now, they want a second- or first-rounder plus a prospect. Or they ask for Shea Theodore or Nick Ritchie. It’s not going to happen here. I’m not doing that.
On evaluating the moves the team has made since the 2014 playoffs
All the work has to get done around the draft. That’s where you try to get everything done. We made the move for Kes [Ryan Kesler] and Nate [Thompson], and signed Clayton [Stoner]. That’s the way you go forward. So far, those have worked fairly well. I think some of the things to fill holes during the year with injuries, to be quite honest, haven’t been very good. None of them have worked out great for all sorts of different reasons that I won’t get into. They haven’t worked, and that’s ultimately our responsibility in management.
He cleared waivers and he’s going to Norfolk. He asked for a day to think about things, and I’ve given him a little bit of time to think about things.
On Bryzgalov’s value
We’ve already given up a [first-round pick] last year, [Nick] Bonino, a fourth-round and a seventh-round pick to get Nate [Thompson], we gave up [Luca] Sbisa. At some point, you’ve given up enough. I tried to get a goalie I knew without giving anything up. It hasn’t worked out the way Bryz or I wanted it to. I have a history with Bryz, and he won seven games for us the year we won the Cup. He played well in the playoffs last year in Minnesota. We took a chance and it didn’t work out for either of us the right way. Neither one of us feels very good about it.
On if he thinks Bryzgalov wants to continue playing
I think so. He and his agent asked me to check with a couple of teams on things, so I’m checking on a couple of things. I won’t comment any more than that. They’re legitimate things they’ve asked me to check on. I’m in the process of checking on things. If I can help him, I will help him, which would help myself, of course.
On what he expects in the days leading up to the trade deadline
It’s the same every year, but the one change is that the prices get higher every year. I hate to use this, but the media out of Toronto or whatever builds these up. Every morning, I get up, workout and watch TSN. There’s this list of free agents, and it gets built up higher and higher. You look at the names of those players and say, Hmm… I didn’t know that guy was that good. I hate to say it that way. Some years, the unrestricted free agent market is outstanding, and others years it isn’t very good. Teams are asking for first-round picks plus prospects for guys that, well… it’s not my cup of tea, these rentals.
On the challenge of finding a missing piece (or pieces) to the puzzle without mortgaging the future
We’re very up and down right now, so some days it’s a couple of players, or three players, and it changes. If I felt there was somebody to get us there, especially if I thought I had a chance to sign the guy moving forward. [Kings President/General Manager, Alternate Governor] Dean Lombardi’s done that very well in LA. Marian Gaborik is a great example. He goes and gets him, but then he signs him, so he keeps him. That no longer is a rental. If I thought there was somebody, and there may be a few out there right now, that I think, If I get him, I have a chance to sign this guy. You do have gut feelings about those things, whether you have a chance to sign the guy going forward or not. You do get a sense.
On if he sees any difference makers remaining on the market
You may be surprised at this one, but I don’t quite think all the teams have made up their minds yet. There are so many teams bunched up in those wild card races, which is great. These races are good for hockey. I think it’s going to get real hectic come Saturday, Sunday and Monday with teams wondering, Are we in or are we out? It could get really hectic.
There are a couple players out there that might pique my interest a little bit, because I think I might have a chance to keep them.