Of any NHL coach on an opposing team, Mike Babcock may be the most familiar with the skill set of the Anaheim Ducks. He used to coach in Anaheim, has had multiple grueling playoff series against the Ducks and got to know Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry well in Vancouver while winning a gold medal with them for Team Canada.
So like the rest of the NHL, his interest was piqued when word got back to Detroit that Ducks GM Bob Murray may be looking to make a major shake-up in Anaheim. I asked him if he'd put any requests in to his general manager.
"You know what? I haven't run into Ken Holland, he was at the world juniors, but I'm sure on this flight [to Toronto] we'll have time to talk," Babcock said.
The potential breakup of the Ducks has now replaced the Nashville Predators as the hottest trade deadline story. Predators GM David Poile is still hoping to keep both of his defensemen, so they're not on the market. That's not the case in Anaheim, where Murray declared to the L.A. Times that only Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu are untouchable, with the caveat that he's not looking to rebuild but rather shake things up for a second-half spark.
The reality is that the Ducks sit 20 points outside a playoff spot in the Western Conference and have a much better shot at landing the No. 1 pick and Nail Yakupov than a miracle playoff run in the impossible West. If the best deal for one of the "big three" in Anaheim is built around future assets, Murray would be wise to reconsider his stance.
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