It’s very early, but the Anaheim Ducks are off to a good start to the lockout-shortened 2013 NHL season, having won both of their first two games while tallying four points, good for third in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division. The Ducks are looking to take advantage of a shorter schedule this year after missing the playoffs last season for the first time in half a dozen years. There have been lots of changes already in Anaheim–namely the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle and hiring of new boss Bruce Boudreau–but that might be just a drop in the bucket if the Ducks don’t make a strong playoff run in 2013.
Although they’re 2-0 and the season is shorter, that’s still nothing for the Ducks to write home about. They have several players with expiring contracts this year and a decision on their futures in Anaheim needs to be made as soon as possible. If the Ducks become Stanley Cup contenders this year, this players like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry need to be re-signed as quickly as possible before their prices go up. If it even remotely appears like Anaheim might tank down the stretch, the Ducks’ brass must make decisions on dealing these players as quickly as they can.
In short, Ducks general manager Bob Murray has arguably the toughest set of decisions ahead of him this year that he’s ever had to face in his career. These decisions would have been tough without the lockout, but they are now extremely difficult with a shortened season and no off-season/time to consider the options. Needless to say, the Ducks’ 2013 season is going to be very interesting.