Ryan Murray - the world’s most talented glass man.
When healthy this season, Ryan Murray played well enough to temporarily take Zach Werenski’s spot on the top pairing. He was trusted with Seth Jones late in games to see out leads. He was an excellent defensive forward and played his role with aplomb (at even strength, at least - he only had two power play points this season).
The key words , surrounding Murray, yet again however: when healthy
Murray again missed 30+ games for the Columbus Blue Jackets, including every game after the trade deadline and every game of the 2019 NHL Playoffs. He’s talented, but these are his games played since his NHL debut:
2012-13 season: missed entire year with shoulder injury (this was post lockout and Murray was injured during the lockout, but given who else was starting on that blue line for Columbus, Murray would have absolutely played as a rookie)
2013-14: 66 games played
2014-15: 12 games played
2015-16: 82 games played (his only full season)
2016-17: 60 games played
2017-18: 44 games played
2018-19: 56 games played
At some point, the team simply cannot count on Ryan Murray to be healthy for a full season. With his contract negotiations, how can GM Jarmo Kekalainen invest significant time and dollars into a player with bones made of the literal opposite of whatever Wolverine’s are made of?
Murray is talented. It’s a shame his body won’t let him compete.
2018-19 Ryan Murray Stats
Games played: 56
Time on ice: 21:26
Penalty Minutes: 10
Corsi For (even strength): 50.1%
2018-19 Playoff Stats
Games played: 0
Time on ice: 0
Penalty Minutes: 0
Corsi For (even strength): N/A
Ryan Murray’s Contract Status
Hey, another restricted free agent. Except this one has arbitration rights!
Murray struggled with injuries for five of his first six professional seasons in the NHL. He played more than 66 games just once, more than 59 games just three times, and more than 50 games just four times in those six seasons. Not ideal for a former second overall selection in the NHL Draft.
Murray, in the 2018 offseason, signed a one year deal worth $2.85 million that would leave him a restricted free agent at the end of the contract, but with arbitration rights. Murray bet on himself to stay healthy and get paid top dollar for his high talent level.
That, uh, didn’t work out. For 56 games, Murray was great - arguably the second best defenseman under contract. Unfortunately, his last game this season was February 18 and the public never heard a concrete update on his status until the season ended (he might have been healthy enough to return if the team made the Eastern Conference Finals - maybe, fans still don’t know what happened to him).
There is no doubt that Murray has talent worthy of a second overall pick in the NHL draft. He was a great defenseman when healthy, boasting a +20 in 56 games played. But his injury history is of massive concern not just for the Blue Jackets, but for any team considering his services. At 25, Murray has just one season of 82 games played, which is simply not good enough.
Murray will go to arbitration this summer, and the Blue Jackets will point to his injury history as a reason to keep his cap hit low. Murray will point to his performance when he is in the lineup as a reason for a salary increase. His future as a Blue Jacket comes down to what the arbitration process determines as his fair value weighing performance versus injury history.
Ryan Murray’s second to last game in a Blue Jackets sweater this past season was also his only game with three points as he tied for the team lead in scoring (with Artemi Panarin) as the Blue Jackets defeated the Blackhawks 5-2 in Chicago. Murray posted three assists in the game, including two apples on two third period goals as Panarin and Josh Anderson iced the game.
After the next game, Murray was lost for the rest of the season. Of course he was.
Rather than beating his injury history into the dirt, let’s discuss a bad game he played. On February 14, 2019, Murray played 27 shifts fir 21:24. He blocked one shot, took no shots of his own, had zero points, and was a -2 as the Columbus Blue Jackets lost 3-0 at home to the New York Islanders.
How would you grade Ryan Murray’s 2018-19 season?
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