Ducks Could Be Set To Move Getzlaf
We've seen this head fake from Anaheim GM Bob Murray before. So Leaf fans need not get too excited.
One moment earlier this season, you may remember, scoring winger Bobby Ryan was made available around the league for a possible trade, the next minute he wasn't available and Murray had instead fired head coach Randy Carlyle and quickly replaced him with the Bruce Boudreau.
But before, not after, the Ducks loss to San Jose on Wednesday night, a frustrated Murray appeared to make it clear in an interview with Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times that not only Ryan, but also Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry and centre Ryan Getzlaf are all now available to the highest bidder.
And it's Getzlaf, you have to believe, that would be a target for Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke.
While slumping badly this season, the 26-year-old Getzlaf is precisely the big, tough centre that Burke has coveted but been unable to land since taking over in Toronto. Burke knows the player well from Anaheim's 2007 Stanley Cup championship, the timing now would fit the Leaf GM's preference of making big deals well in advance of the winter trade deadline and Getzlaf would certainly also fit the pattern of players who appeared to run out of steam in other cities coming to Toronto and finding the atmosphere reinvigorating.
It worked for Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul, all of whom may be in the NHL all-star game later this month. Could it work for Getzlaf? What would be the price?
But is the Anaheim captain really available? Early rumblings this morning suggest Getzlaf isn't the player Murray wants to move, and that Ryan is again the likeliest candidate for a trade. That would kill the notion of a trade to Toronto, as the Leafs don't see a fit with Ryan either positionally or in terms of cap strategy.
That said, Murray told the L.A. Times on Wednesday night that with his team locked into 29th place, only veterans Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu are untouchable.
"And the rest of the players in that locker room, I thought they'd figure out when we changed coaches that time was running, the clock was running quickly here. And I don't care who you talked about," Murray told the L.A. Times.
"We're going to get ready for next year," he said. "I think this team can be turned around to make the playoffs next year. I think it's going to be hard to do it this year but I do want them to make a run. But it's got to happen quick. Everybody knows that."
Maybe it was intended to be a pep talk, but after a 3-1 loss to the Sharks, it clearly hadn't had that effect.
Murray and Burke, former Anaheim associates, have done much business in recent years. They got together on the deal in Jan, 2010 that sent Jason Blake and goalie Vesa Toskala to the Ducks for $7 million netminder J.S. Giguere. Blake still plays for the Ducks, while Giguere never really panned out and was let go after last season.
Last winter, Burke traded defenceman Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim for Lupul, defence prospect Jake Gardiner and a fourth round draft pick. The Ducks used Beauchemin to finish fourth in the Western Conference while the Leafs missed the playoffs. This year, however, Lupul has blossomed and is the NHL's sixth leading scorer, while the 21-year-old Gardiner cracked the Leaf lineup out of training camp and has played very well.
Just this week, Burke and Murray did a minor league deal that sent winger Luca Caputi, picked up from Pittsburgh several years ago for Alexei Ponikarovsky, to the Ducks for minor-league forward Nicolas Deschamps.
As well, Burke seems to be positioning the roster for a move, having sent unproductive centre Phillipe Dupuis to the minors and put little-used enforcer Colton Orr, owed a $1 million salary for this year and next, on waivers.That may be designed to make room for returning injured players like Tyler Bozak and Mike Komisarek, while John Michael Liles, Colby Armstrong and Mike Brown are all still out.
The Leafs could handle Getzlaf's contract, which comes with a $5.325 million cap hit this season and next. Perry is under the same deal, but Burke is likely to much more interested in a playmaking centre than another scoring winger.
Despite his team's position, Murray told the L.A. Times he's not looking to dump veterans and rebuild.
"We will not go to draft picks. It's not my intention," he said.
Which, taken at face value, means roster players, or at the very least young players ready to step in.
When the Leafs were talking to Philly last summer about Mike Richards before he was moved to the Kings, it's believed the demands centred around a package involving Luke Schenn and Nazem Kadri. The Leafs don't have a No. 1 centre to send to the Ducks, so the fit would have to be Bozak, or theoretically, minor-leaguer Joe Colborne.
But it seems unlikely the Leafs would surrender both Kadri and Colborne, particularly with Kadri looking like he's in the NHL to stay. Defenceman Carl Gunnarson could also be a fit.
Getzlaf's numbers this season, by the way, are terrible. After being a key member of Canada's gold-medal winning team at the Vancouver Olympics, Getzlaf has only six goals and 19 assists this season while carrying a horrific minus-19 rating.
He and Boudreau haven't exactly hit it off. Getzlaf doesn't have a point in the last six games and has scored once since Boudreau took over.
Last week, Andrew Cogliano replaced Getzlaf at a key moment on the power play in an Anaheim game, which certainly caught Getzlaf's attention.
"(Boudreau) wants results," Getzlaf told reporters. "He expects better things out of me, as I do. It's one of those things (where) he's not telling me anything I don't know already. I need to get going and I need to make plays."
Clearly, Murray has all kinds of options here, and he could also trade goalie Jonas Hiller or defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky, as well. He doesn't necessarily have to move one of his big three forwards.
But he's also facing the clock with Getzlaf. If Murray doesn't move him now, he's facing a scenario next season in which Getzlaf would be in the final year of his contract and heading towards unrestricted free agency.
He might like to make that Burke's problem. Burke, on the other hand, must dream of having a player like the 6-foot-4, 240 pound Getzlaf to throw at divisional rival Boston and 6-foot-9 defenceman Zdeno Chara. Getzlaf would also put more snarl into the Leafs, particularly if he could find his game again and fit with Kessel and Lupul.