Ducks GM: I would have traded Pronger even without Niedermayer's return

June, 26, 2009

MONTREAL -- What a day for Bob Murray. The Anaheim Ducks GM first found out that surefire Hall of Fame blueliner Scott Niedermayer will return for another season. Then, he traded away another can't-miss Hall of Famer in Chris Pronger in a blockbuster deal that stole the spotlight Friday night at the NHL draft.

"You don't trade Hall of Famers every day; it's not that much fun, to be honest with you," Murray told a group of us late Friday night.

Let me say this -- Murray did very, very well. He recouped a ton in the deal, and he believed that kind of value wasn't going to be there forever for Pronger, who has one year left on his deal. The time was now.

"The offers we were getting, where we were going as an organization, if we let it go too much further we probably would not have had the chance to recoup some of those young things," Murray said. "We couldn't get by Detroit [in the second round] because we didn't have enough top-six forwards. Now, we got a top-six forward in Joffrey Lupul.

"We got a young defenseman that I love in [Luca] Sbisa and the first-round picks. Sure, we took a bit of a step back here … but at some point in time in Anaheim, we were going to play without Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer. That's a fact. It's not a fun day to look forward to, but it's a fact."

That Niedermayer phoned him and told Murray he was coming back was the not the clincher we all thought it was in terms of a Pronger deal.

"It made it easier, but it was going to go down one way or another," Murray said.

Murray didn't like my question (and I can't blame him) when I asked him about the future of Jean-Sebastien Giguere. As I reported Thursday, the veteran goalie, who has a no-trade clause, has given Murray a short list of teams he would be willing to be moved to, including Toronto.

"I have great goaltending at the moment. Does anybody care to question that?" Murray said.

When I pressed, he said: "I've got good goaltending, and I expect to move forward with it this way, as of right now. But like any player on our team, I will listen."

My prediction: Giguere will go to Toronto sometime this summer. The Leafs have the cap space for the $13 million and two years left on his deal.

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer




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