Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray addressed the media this afternoon during exit interviews day at Honda Center.
On the loss to Nashville
Between this year and two years ago in Chicago, I couldn't really differentiate between the two because I felt in both cases, the group played its heart out. You couldn't ask for anything more as far as giving what they have. In that way, I'm very proud of them.
On the makeup of the Ducks
I think what's happened here over the last year and a half, and it's starting to be recognized, is we've added some youth to our lineup. And there is the emergence of Ricky [Rickard Rakell] and Silfvy [Jakob Silfverberg]. Everyone says we're an old team. We've got some veteran players, yes. But we've got some really good young kids and more kids coming. So we're in a good spot to move forward. I'm gonna very vague about some things because this one hurt and I haven't had time. We've got to make some decisions and identify certain areas and why it didn't work. That could mean changing a player or two. I'm not saying we're going to, but I've got to think about these things. I'm being vague about a bunch of things because I've got a lot of decisions to make.
On the Ducks' special teams
If there is a negative out of these playoffs it would be the special teams. Why did that happen? Randy and I met for three hours yesterday and I'm sure there will be another meeting in the next couple days for a few hours. We have to address something. I want to take my time and look at them. Nothing drastic, but we've got to think about the expansion draft too.
On the team's young defensemen
Our young defensemen are only going to get better. Some of our kids are nowhere near their prime yet. So you've got to look at that and give it a little more time. I told three of them this morning that, "Hey, you made great strides this year, but it's got to be even more next year if you want this team to go anywhere." So some of our young people have to make an even bigger jump, and it's not something they're not capable of either. These guys are talented.
On the Ducks' leaders
Right now we need some of these young players to be part of our secondary leadership here. It's time for that to happen and I'm quite encourages from some things I saw this year from some of them. I think some of the older guys are gonna welcome that. As you get older, and get into these grinds like we just went through, they need some help, and they're looking forward to it.
On free agency
We've got to try and address some situations with our unrestricted guys first, and then we'll go from there. My guys have the information ready, and I've looked over lists. In the back of my mind, I have a gameplan, but it all depends on a couple of these other things I'm working through with our own team. Do I leave the group alone or make one or two changes? That's what has to be decided, and I'm nowhere near making that decision.
On keeping the team's young players
You do your darndest, but at a certain point you can't. We lost a couple of forwards, [Stefan] Noesen and [Joseph] Cramarossa [to waivers] this year, and I'm not really happy with myself on those. I left myself in positions where I had to do things because of number, and we could have used those two guys at the end because we were running out of bodies. You have to be proactive when you know guys are coming into their waivers years.
As is customary for a team after its playoff run has ended, Murray gave some updates on several injured players, and they were not positive for two young defenseman in particular. Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen each played through torn labrums suffered early in the playoffs, and both are likely to have surgery. Lindholm will be out 4-5 months and, "Sami's is worse," according to Murray.
Murray added that the injury that knocked Patrick Eaves out of the playoffs from the middle of the Second Round was a "deep bone bruise" that made it virtually impossible to skate. "He could be awhile with that one," Murray said. "Could be another month and a half with pain."
Meanwhile, Nate Thompson played from early in the first series with a hairline fracture in his ankle but did not miss a game. Rakell, who missed Games 5 and 6 with an ankle injury, "is going to get better quickly. He was really close [to returning]."