Should He Stay Or Should He Go? Andrew Murray

Name:  Andrew Murray

Position:  C / LW
Status:  Unrestricted Free Agent
2010-2011 Salary/Cap Hit: $625,000 / $625,000


Last Three Years' Stats:

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

67

8

3

11

-6

10

46

5

2

7

-6

6

29

4

4

8

+2

4

 

Andrew Murray is one of a group of NHL players who can say he was drafted in a round that no longer exists. The 8th round pick of the Blue Jackets, 242nd overall, in 2001, he spent four years at Bemidji State, and two and a half years with the Syracuse Crunch, before breaking into the NHL midway through the 2007-2008 season under Ken Hitchcock. Delivering a solid 39 game performance, he was re-signed to a three year deal, but due to a combination of injuries and battling for roster spots with other players in the third / fourth lines, he's yet to play a full 82 game season at the NHL level. Though he seemed to be developing some talent for going to the front of the net in a Tomas Holmstrom style role in addition to his "weighty" checking game, he's the very picture of a tweener in many fan's eyes - probably too talented for the AHL level, but yet to really take off in NHL play.

What's He Worth?

Murray's sophomore season, despite missing 15 games due to minor injuries, was his best in terms of pure point production. As a fourth liner, he's not expected to be a massive offensive contributor, but has provided some unexpected goals on occasion to help inspire the team. The bigger concern, in my eyes, is his defensive ability. While a -6 isn't terrible, particularly on the Jackets' 2009-2010 squad, there's no indication that Murray (or his line) can be consistently able to play against higher tier competition. It says a lot that his only positive defensive season came in a year so shortened by injury - and that injury history is also quickly becoming a concern. At his current salary, Murray is comparable to Detroit's Drew Miller, Ottawa's Ryan Shannon, and Vancouver's Tanner Glass, and his production is comparable to Glass, but less favorable when you consider Miller and Shannon.

What Should The CBJ Offer?

Honestly, I'm not sure they should offer anything at all, and all indications at this point are that they will allow him to go to July 1st - Murray's role was more than adequately filled by Derek MacKenzie or Matt Calvert. At this point, Murray is a "serviceable" option for the fourth line, but the Jackets may also need to open roster spots for Ryan Johansen or the possibility of Tomas Kubalik, for example, cracking the NHL roster. Murray is a "heart and soul" guy who will do anything he can for the team, but his inability to stay healthy is a major issue. If they do make the decision to provide Murray an offer, I'd expect it to be a two way deal, and not much more over his current $625,000 - if anything, he might have to take a pay cut to stay at the NHL level, wherever he should land. 

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