July 1 is always a hectic day around the NHL, as free agency opens and teams look to make improvements to the teams.
Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray was focused on adding experience and size to the team’s defense. He succeeded in signing both Sheldon Souray (6-4, 233 pounds, 12 years in the league) and Bryan Allen (6-5, 226 pounds, 11 years in the league) to three-year contracts. He also struck deals with left wing Brad Staubitz (two years) and defenseman Jordan Hendry (one year) during an active day on the free agency market.
On Sunday evening, Murray took some time out to discuss the day with reporters via conference call. The following is a transcript:
First of all, I want to thank George and Brookie for their truly hard work for this hockey team and backing up their teammates. I can’t thank them enough. They are really truly good guys. We wish both of them nothing but the best in the future. They are quality individuals. Secondly, we attempted to get bigger and stronger on the back end. I think we accomplished that today. We’ve added some character to the hockey team.
On Sheldon Souray
The decision there was the term. We wanted to get some experience and size back there. We wanted to be a little bit harder to play against. If we were going to do that, we had to go that route. I have no problem. I thought he played very well in Dallas last year. I know the questions on Sheldon from before. Quite honestly, I talked to a few veterans on our hockey team and they definitely said go forward and get this guy if you can, so I did.
We’ve looked at him (in the past). His contract was huge when he was in Edmonton. We weren’t in financial shape to do something like that at that point in time. We have a number of young defensemen on our team. I don’t feel we’ve supported our younger defensemen with enough size and oomph in our last couple of years. I said in the middle of last year it wasn’t going to happen again. We were going to go and surround them with some bigger veteran guys. You can never have enough defensemen, especially in the Western Conference. It’s the decision we made and we moved forward today.
On other moves he is still looking at
We are still making phone calls. I don’t know if anything more is going to happen right now free agency-wise. We’re still looking. We’ve added some younger player the last few years. Now, it’s time to move forward a little bit.
On Bryan Allen
I was with Vancouver with Bryan as a young man. He’s from my hometown. He’s a quality, character human being. He can kill penalties. Both he and Sheldon can eat minutes, Sheldon more on the power play and Bryan more killing penalties. We have some good veterans in the organization and some real good kids. It’s a good mixture.
On the team’s younger forwards and defensemen
When we look at our depth chart, we feel our younger forwards are more ready. It’s also easier to jump into the National Hockey League as a forward than a defenseman. In saying that, we still have Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm, who we just drafted, who are probably going to vie for a spot on our team next year.
On Justin Schultz
We received no phone call from Justin Schultz. I’m more confused more than ever. I read everything of course. I’ve moved on. I’m confused because, if he had it in his mind that he wanted to play in Canada, then okay. I get that. I’m a Canadian too. But Eric Lindros when he didn’t want to play in Quebec, he went to his team that drafted him and said ‘No, I’m not going to play there.’ He allowed that team to make a move to get something for him. He told us numerous times he wanted to play with us. He needed to just tell us the truth.
This is unfair, not only for the organization, but it’s unfair for the Anaheim Duck fans. It’s unfair to other fans, the Phoenix Coyotes with Blake Wheeler. We’re all aware of other players coming along that are in this situation. It’s just wrong. I sure hope the NHL realizes they dropped the ball big time.
We’ve texted and he’s been playing a bunch of golf this week. He said we’ll talk Monday or Tuesday, which is positive for me. We’ll talk more. I’m sure he was paying attention to today and tomorrow closely. We will talk.
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