The Phaneuf for Cowen/Greening/Michalek deal was pretty big and bold. Ryan for a 1st+Silfverberg was big. Trading away Spezza and Heatley were pretty big, if one-sided.
I think a lot of the seeming lack of big moves is due to the environmental factors:
- Ottawa not exactly a hot destination (surprised Phaneuf had us on his "yes" list)
- Melnyk's budget ties Murray's hands somewhat
None of that would change if Murray was replaced. While I don't disagree that it's time to move along I still think the roster issues have been largely addressed (Greening/Cowen/Wiercioch/Michalek/Phillips/Chiasson gone or soon gone; Phaneuf gives us a very good top-four, competition for the third pairing between Boro/Claesson/Englund/Chabot will be a positive, healthy CMac, continued improvement from Stone, Pageau, Zibanejad, Hoffman, Paul, Puempel.
Now, those are all positives but at least some of them will mean little unless there is a significant coaching change. Cameron will continue to play the favorites (Boro, Neil, Lazar, Smith) regardless of how well they play. The special units have been disastrous.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'm actually on-board if Murray stays but switches out pretty much all the coaches. Maybe keep Wamsley but have him spend more time in Bingo with O'Connor. We will need him sooner or later (probably sooner).
Coach has to be experienced and I would prefer an outsider with no connections or allegiances to existing roster. I want someone who can see that Lazar and his 20 pts is not helping this team (Chiasson has more for crying out loud). If Ryan is struggling, sit him a game or two and see if that lights a fire under him. Same with Zibanejad. Give Phaneuf the A that he deserves and tell him to go ahead an knock some heads if he has to in order to get rid of the country club atmosphere.