Well, Murray did it again. Ducks GM Bob Murray made another trade with Toronto and his former boss, Toronto GM Brian Burke.
This time Murray sent winger Joffrey Lupul to Canada, along with top defensive prospect, Jake Gardiner, and a conditional fourth round draft pick in 2013 in exchange for defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin first came to the Ducks in 2005 from Columbus in the Sergei Fedorov trade. While the other part of the trade, Tyler Wright, has long since vanished to obscurity, Beauchemin was a key part of the Ducks defense for several years, including the Stanley Cup winning team in 2007.
Despite coming back from an ACL injury in fall of 2008, the Ducks let Beauchemin go as a free agent, with Murray claiming at the time that he was too expensive to sign. Murray never even offered him a deal and Beauchemin signed with the Maple Leafs.
Now Murray seems to value what he lost in Beauchemin, but rather than having kept him in an Anaheim uniform all along, now the price is a lot steeper.
While Lupul has not been stellar since returning from back surgery that kept him out of the line up for a year, he has provided depth scoring and experience up front. Gardiner is a top ranked defensive prospect who is currently playing at the University of Wisconsin and much is expected from him in the future.
In many ways the short term benefits of this deal could be outweighed by the extremely high long term costs. It was an awful lot to give up for a single player with just one more year on his contract. Especially when you now have nine defensemen on your roster.
What does one do with nine defensemen?
Toni Lydman, Lubomir Visnovsky, Cam Fowler, Andreas Lilja, Andy Sutton, Luca Sbisa, Paul Mara, Sheldon Brookbank and now Beauchemin. Mara and Brookbank are already seeing enough time in the press box as healthy scratches. Mara was brought in when Lydman missed the first part of the season with double vision. Lilja was brought in when Sutton broke his finger in the first game of the season. Now that everyone is healthy, something has to give.
Murray could not have sent an extra d-man in place of a top prospect? Does Burke have compromising pictures of Murray that would help explain some of the logic behind this deal?
On the plus side, there should be no transition time for Beauchemin, who is quite familiar with coach Randy Carlyle and his system. And Lupul’s contract has two years remaining, so that is a significant savings in terms of the salary cap.
Ducks fans seem torn on this one. Happy to have Beauchemin back, but unhappy at the price paid to do so. As with all deals, hindsight will prove 20/20 as to whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.