Murray did not offer contracts to a trio of Ducks — longtime goaltender
And so, Koivu may have played his final NHL game, along with legendary Finnish countryman
Koivu is a much-beloved figure in the NHL. The 39-year-old once was the captain of the
He joined the Ducks and Selanne in the 2009-10 season and played five seasons in Anaheim. Koivu appeared in the Olympics four times for Finland — winning three bronze medals and one silver — and declined to play in Sochi this year, putting forth his efforts toward one more big playoff push.
"I don't know if he's going to retire or not, but I know he went home to think about it," Murray said in a conference call Thursday. "I just felt we had younger players coming along that we had to move into the lineup. I thought it was best for this organization that we move forward a little bit."
He also praised the contributions of Hiller and Winnik, who was with the Ducks for two seasons. Hiller became expendable after the rapid progression of goalies John Gibson and
"Those are not easy decisions," Murray said. "Jonas has been our No. 1 goalie for five years around here and done a great job for us.
"It's ironic, with my meeting with him, he said, 'It's kind of funny how it comes full circle.' Years ago, it was him taking over for Jiggy [
Anaheim has two first-round picks — 10th and 24th overall — in next week's
The Ducks made a big play for
"We're very aware of what the rumors are out there and who might and might not be available," said Murray. "Let's just say: I've talked to lots of teams.
"We had to get back to a position where we had assets to use. We are pretty close to there right now. We have good young assets and we have draft picks. And I'm not afraid to use them … but I'm not going to put ourselves behind the 8-ball again, either. So it's a process we're going through — and seeing who really is available and who really isn't."
He mused about one of his general manager counterparts,
Murray acknowledged that they are not just chasing the Kings but also other organizations.
"We're still behind a bunch of teams in my eyes — and that's why decisions have to be made," he said. "Where are we, really? Every year, the Stanley Cup Final is the one game I do watch, when I think it's going to happen — because it's what we all want. It's what we all strive to get."
Murray was asked what he considered the key missing assets.
"You watch the Kings, for example and you watch how
"At center ice, we have some really nice players coming along … but is that now? That's a huge decision you have to make. "
The Kings and Ducks released their preseason schedules. They both open on Sept. 22 with split-squad games — the Kings against the Arizona
Anaheim and the Kings play each other twice — at Staples Center on Sept. 25 and Honda Center on Sept. 28. The Kings also play the Avalanche at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs on Oct. 2 and again at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Oct. 4.