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Bob Murray: Big difference between Ducks, Kings is Doughty

Jun 20, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT

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The Anaheim Ducks took the Los Angeles Kings to Game 7 in the second round of the 2014 NHL playoffs, so the gap between these two squads doesn’t appear to be huge. But it nevertheless exists and Ducks GM Bob Murray gave it a name when he asked about the missing pieces to Anaheim’s puzzle.

“You watch the Kings, for example, and you watch how Drew Doughty has emerged as a superstar,” Murray said, per the Ducks’ website. “Do we have a defenseman who can be that way? When we won the Stanley Cup, we had Scotty and Chris [Pronger]. That’s in the back of my mind all the time. Where is that guy, can you find that guy, and can you afford that guy?”

The Kings and former Ducks aren’t the only recent championship teams that have been backed by top-tier defensemen. The Chicago Blackhawks have Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, the Boston Bruins have Zdeno Chara, the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins had Sergei Gonchar, and the 2008 Detroit Red Wings had Nicklas Lidstrom.

Finding a blueliner that can lead you to glory on the free agent market rarely happens as teams are quick to lock up that caliber of player to a long-term contract and it’s similarly unusual to find one on the trade market.

In 2009, Philadelphia had to give up two first-round picks along with two former first-round selections (Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa) to get Pronger mere months before his 35th birthday and even then, it was a good move for the Flyers. Pronger led them to the Stanley Cup Final and might have taken them that one step further had his career not been cut short due to a concussion.

Since they lost Pronger, the Flyers have tried desperately to fill that void, but even a team run as boldly as Philadelphia was lucky to succeed in getting a guy at that level on the market once in the last five years. Most teams haven’t accomplished that much.

So if the Ducks want their own Doughty, they’ll likely have to look within for answers. They have to hope that Cam Fowler continues to progress after taking a step forward in 2013-14 or perhaps that one of their top prospects like Shea Theodore emerges as a top-tier blueliner over the next five years.

In the meantime, Murray suggested that the team also needs a centerman and unlike Doughty-level defenseman, that is something obtainable on the trade market.

  1. pastabelly - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    Agree on Doughty. That’s also why teams should give up anything reasonable to get Weber. Of course, the Preds would be foolish to deal him.

  2. vbcaps - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    You need depth down the middle, secondary scoring, world class defenseman and a goalie to make all the saves he should make and a few he shouldn’t to win a cup…sounds easy enough ??

  3. lateralous - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    I think they also have a little gap to make up in goal.

  4. bct11554 - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:46 AM

    You can always call Montreal and see who they want to trade

  5. nyking1963 - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    As great as Stamkos is, you know TB has to be regretting not taking Doughty #1.

    • withseidelinn - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:33 AM

      60 goal scorer or franchise defenseman. That’s a tough one. (Seriously).

      • nyking1963 - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:58 AM

        absolutely a tough call but stud defensmen like Doughty come along so infrequently, I would think you’d have to go in that direction.

      • 19to77 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:48 AM

        I’d say top-three goal scorers in the whole League come along just as rarely. The most recent case of a player like that getting traded was Rick Nash and he cost NY a pile of players and picks. At the time he was dealt he hadn’t cracked the 80-point mark yet, and still the price was that high.

        Point is, getting any player perceived as a star is almost never possible via free agency, and brutally expensive in trade. Gotta get those guys through the draft in almost every case.

    • petersteelewannabe - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Two different situations, what if Doughty took longer to develop (as most D men do), people would be screaming at TB for NOT taking Stamkos. One cannot go wrong with either one of those players unless you already had Crosby/Giroux/Weber/Suter/Towes/Kane/Malkin/Subban or OV.

      • wtfkwp - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:49 PM

        So THAT’S why Tampa has won the cup twice and shown up for the Conference Final in the last three years. Oh, wait. that didn’t happen.

      • petersteelewannabe - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        wtfkwp, are you saying 4 years ago TB & LA were in the same situation? Jesus, I hate to be insulting but if you are here posting, you can’t be that ignorant of hockey realities…can you? Wow.

    • aldog83 - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      60 goal guy AND superstar Defensman….

      I think its not fair to knock Tampa..

      Stamkos great.

      As for Kings…

      A generation after trading the pick that became Ray Bourque…

      I am happy to see we finally got our guy!


    • pfhockey - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Not really, I asked myself that a couple times, Stamkos is worth more and now we have Hedman for that Franchise D-man.

  6. sharksfan97 - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see both ANA and SJ make a run at the #1 overall pick this year to land their “Doughty,” in Aaron Ekblad. ANA has the pieces and picks to more easily make that happen unless SJ is willing trade Pavelski plus more. Funny thing is, after watching a lot of ANA this year, they may already have their answer in Hampus Lindholm.

    • aldog83 - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      Lindholm needs to eat IN-N-OUT for the next 300 days to get to “fighting weight” good player but he is a twig out there.

  7. hosewater2 - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Seen Shea Theodore play? I have. Many times. He will not be the answer.

    • withseidelinn - Jun 20, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      Why do you say so? His stats look pretty solid (save for +/-), but I’ve never seen the guy play. A tad undersized maybe?

    • areaman714 - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      I have. He is just 17 or 18, skates like the wind, laser accurate with his passing and is great at the point on the PP. Only knocks is he needs to bulk up a little as he continues to improve in the defensive zone. Blowing a teenager off, really?

  8. trolltoll11 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    yeah and that Quick guy.

  9. wtfkwp - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Doughty is one advantage. The other is their four lines of centers, three of whom could play #1 for just about any team in the league. Also, while Quick hardly approached his legendary 1.41 GAA of 2012, his clutch saves were a huge difference in later series. In short, you need a TEAM, not just a really gifted first line.

  10. norcalsportsknowledge - Jun 20, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    History has been kind to teams with a shutdown blueliner who captains the team the right way. If I was sharks GM I’d trade Couture or Pavs, Mueller,& 2 first rd picks to get one.

  11. dannymac17 - Jun 20, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Ducks fans used the say the biggest difference between the Kings and Ducks were Stanley Cup rings according to Brian Hayward

    Still seems to be the case cause as it stands, the Ducks are frauds and should be treated as such.

    Suck it Anaheim.

    • puckoff70 - Jun 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      Quoting Hayward would be like quoting the random superfan homer at a game wearing a ducks hat jersey and pants with two foam fingers on his hands holding a ‘were number 1’ sign.

  12. aldog83 - Jun 21, 2014 at 4:06 AM

    Ducks are a great team…..

    More like “Suck it” Brian Hayward. (One of the worst biased HOMERS out there)


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