Toronto Maple Leafs: Ranking All 32 NHL General Managers

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: (l-r) Pierre Dorion and Kyle Dubas attend the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 23: (l-r) Pierre Dorion and Kyle Dubas attend the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Bob Murray, the General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

28th Ranked GM – Bob Murray (Anaheim Ducks)

Bob Murray has done a little of everything for the Anaheim Ducks. After working his way up through the Blackhawks organization, Murray joined the Mighty Ducks and eventually replaced Brian Burke as the frachise’s general manager. It’s a role he’s held since November of 2008.

The Good – There was a time when Murray was considered one of if not the best GM in the NHL. He won the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award in for his work in the 2013-14 season. Immediately after earning the award, he Traded for Ryan Kesler in June of 2014. It may have been Murray’s greatest hit. Along with a third round pick, the Ducks managed to acquire the beloved player from who spent ten years in Vancouver for a return of Nick Bonino and Luca Sbisa as well a pair of draft picks. Those were a first-round pick in 2014 which was used to select Jared McCann and a third-round pick in the same draft, which was later traded to New York Rangers. They used it to get Keegan Iverson.

To be clear, trading for Kesler was a good move; the massive contract Murray signed him to a year later, wasn’t. Kesler lasted five years in Anaheim before hanging up his skates. His first three years were fantastic. In fact, Kesler even finished 20th in Hart Trophy voting in 2015-16. The very next year Kesler was even better. He finished the season having played all 82 games and averaging 21 minutes and 18 seconds per contest. He also accumulated 58 points on 22 goals and 36 assists.

Murray also fleeced the Maple Leafs in 2011. He traded the 22nd overall selection to Toronto for the 30th and 39th overall picks. Toronto used their first round choice to take Tyler Biggs. It was a massive bust for the Leafs since he was only one of two players from that round never to play in the NHL. Meanwhile, Murray and the Ducks took Rickard Rakell, who has now been with the organization for nine seasons and John Gibson who has so far played eight seasons between the pipes in Anaheim.

The Bad – Murray has made a number of puzzling deals during his tenure with the Ducks. One of those has to be his second trade of 2015 involving defenseman James Wisniewski. On March 2, Murray acquired Wisniewski and a third-round pick in the 2015 draft (used to selected Brent Gates who never played a game in the NHL) in exchange for Rene Bourque, William Karlsson, and a second round draft pick in 2015, which Columbus used to pick up Kevin Stenlund.

Every single one of the players and picks Murray gave up became individually more valuable than Wisniewski who played just 13 games for the Ducks before he was traded again on June 27. He was sent out of town for Anton Khudobin and his bloated contract. The goaltender started just seven total games for the Ducks and won three of them.

Currently, it looks as though the team has little direction. It finished with the second-worst record in the NHL this season but based on Murray’s decision making, they don’t seem like they are as deep into a rebuild as they should be. However, it should help the organization that they hold the third-overall draft pick in this year’s draft. Murray is surely banking on the prospects he’s drafted developing into impact players. They include forward Trevor Zegras (9th overall pick in 2019), defenseman Jamie Drysdale (6th overall pick in 2020), forward Isac Lundestrom (23rd overall pick in 2018), and forward Jacob Perreault (27th overall in 2020)

The Ugly – In order for Murray to protect all the players he wanted, he swung a deal prior to the Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft. The Ducks sent then 21-year-old defenseman Shea Theodore to protect the rest of his roster. It was an odd move since Theodore is precisely the type of player that a team would have protected if needed. Making it an even worse decision was the fact that Murray traded away Sami Vatanen only four months later. It was a move that if done sooner could have saved Anaheim from losing their young up-and-coming defenseman.