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Ducks GM Murray signs four-year contract extension

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray signed a four-year contract extension with the team Monday that keeps him with the organization through 2020.

Murray said the negotiations with Anaheim Chief Executive Officer Michael Schulman and owners Henry and Susan Samueli began around the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite Anaheim's elimination by the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Second Round, the organization has trended upward with its prospects and positioned itself well in the salary cap era since it won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

"The one major thought, first of all, [is that] my wife and family like it here and we love the ownership," Murray said. "And we've spent time since the last Cup rebuilding this, basically. So you want to see it through. That had a lot to staying here and going forward that way. I want to see this through and see where we can take this."

Murray replaced Brian Burke in November 2008, two seasons after Anaheim won the Cup. He will have been general manager in Anaheim for 12 years by the time his contract expires, a span he never could have envisioned when he was promoted from senior vice president of hockey operations.

"I didn't know what to expect," Murray said. "We said, 'See how it goes.' As I said, I couldn't work for better people. The organization has more positives than negatives at this moment. So I want to see this through."

Anaheim has won two Stanley Cup Playoff series under Murray, against the top-seeded San Jose Sharks in the 2009 conference quarterfinals and the Dallas Stars this season in the first round. Murray largely is credited for getting the Ducks out of salary cap restrictions from the Burke era, drafting well and seeing those younger players develop.

Among the players picked by Murray are defensemen Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm, forwards Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly and goalies John Gibson and Frederik Andersen. Gibson, 20, and Andersen effectively replaced Jonas Hiller late in the season, while Lindholm stepped into a regular NHL role this season at 19.

Anaheim set franchise bests for wins (54) and points (116) in the regular season, and the team won its third Pacific Division title.

"We're very pleased to extend Bob's contract," Schulman said in a release. "Since taking over as general manager he has meticulously added youth, skill and depth to the organization. Having been in the NHL for the last 39 consecutive years he has outstanding knowledge and expertise for the job. He's the right man to continue leading the hockey club going forward."

Murray was a finalist for NHL General Manager of the Year in 2012-13.

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