Welcome to the home stretch of our Top 25 Under 25 countdown here at The Cannon! Thanks to the more than 120 of you who participated in our reader poll. Throughout the month of August, we’ll reveal a new player each weekday based on your ranking.
Today, we turn our gaze upon #9 - defenseman Ryan Murray.
9th out of 55 eligible players (1704 points)
Highest placement: #2 (1 ballot)
Most common placement: #10 (16 ballots)
Birthday: September 27, 1993
Birthplace: Regina, Saskatchewan
Acquired: Drafted in the first round (2nd overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Stop me if you have heard this one before - Ryan Murray spent three months on the injured reserve last season. Murray was out of the lineup from November 27th until February 20th, leading to public friction between Murray and coach John Tortorella over his perceived unwillingness to return to the lineup.
Murray struggled until the arrival of Ian Cole stabilized the blue line, Murray was reunited with Markus Nutivaara, and played fairly well.
All told, over the course of 44 games played last year, Murray registered 1 goal and 11 assists for 12 points in 18:26 minutes per night. He posted a CF% of 49.8%.
Ryan Murray, a restricted free agent this season, signed his qualifying offer - he is under contract for one more season, paid $2.825 million this season. He will be a restricted free agent next summer, with arbitration rights.
In short, Murray is betting on himself and his ability to stay healthy this season and earn a long term contract with the Blue Jackets. He has been passed on the depth chart by Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, and possibly Markus Nutivaara, but he could still earn a long term deal if he stays healthy and plays well for the team, establishing consistently he has flashed glimpses of throughout his career.
Next season will be the most important of Murray’s career to this point. We’ll see if he can take advantage of his bet on his own play.