At the annual select-a-seat, Pierre Gauthier, President and General Manager of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, held a forum for season ticket holders. Here are the details from that forum.
The draft is one of the richest in the last decade and Pierre says he will not trade the #5 pick. He plans to take the best of the top 5 players and is glad he doesn’t have the 6th pick. When the name Stephen Weiss was mentioned, Pierre smiled and mentioned he met with Weiss last week. With two picks in the second round (35 and 41), Pierre plans to trade one of them, or one or more of the later round picks before or during the June 23rd draft. Gauthier and Murray both agree that the team needs more grit, emotion, and leadership, and will try to fill those needs with trades. Gauthier expects to see a great deal of dealing on the draft floor. Pierre is glad to have Shields on the team because he doesn’t feel that Giguere is ready to start 60-70 games due to his youth. Neither Shields nor Giguere will be involved in trades. Pierre reiterated that drafting well, and making smart trades is the best way to build a winning franchise. He stated Detroit, Dallas, San Jose, New Jersey, and Colorado as examples.
Regarding prospects already in the system, Pierre is high on Cincinnati center Andy McDonald (C) and Russians Alexei Smirnov (LW) and net minder Ilja Bryzgalov (G). At the same time he was disappointed in Balmochnyk and Jay Legault.
Bryan Murray will be a more intense coach than in years past and will be the first Mighty Ducks of Anaheim coach to really get on the players if they don’t perform to expectations. As it stands now, Bryan likes the cards he’s been dealt and has not asked for any players to be traded. Pierre has already spoken to some of the younger players, including Trnka, and told them that they need to turn it up or else.
Pierre didn’t know what Tony Hrkac was going to do. This might be his last chance to get “stupid money” from somebody else, so he might not be back with the Ducks.
So not counting trades or draftees, these are the expected lines and d-pairings:
Friesen - Rucchin - Kariya
LeClerc - Cullen - McInnis
Titov - Pahlsson - Tenkrat
Bylsma - Chouinard - Cummins
Salei - Tverdovsky
Havelid - Vishnevski
Trnka - Niemi
Finally Pierre, stated that it was actually him that tried for a year to convince Disney that they should trade Selanne, citing declining play, age, and the amount of money it would have taken to keep him. He said it was a hockey decision, not a money decision. The team lost a lot of money last year, but it wasn’t a big concern. Most teams lose money and he hopes that will be fixed with the next Collective Bargaining Agreement in four years.
In summary Bryan Murray and Pierre Gauthier like the direction the franchise is going. Drafting well and making smart trades is the best way to make a winning franchise, and winning is the best way to keep the fans happy and the arena full.
Special thanks again to Brian Ross for his contribution.