— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) October 9, 2020
Ryan Murray Joins the New Jersey Devils
The strength of the Columbus Blue Jackets has long been their defensive play. Now they have traded away a solid top-four defender. Murray may not stand out as a big name to the average hockey fan. That is because Murray is often found on the injury report. He has been an NHL player for seven seasons. In the first six seasons, it was possible to play in 492 regular-season games. Murray only played in 320. While he made a significant impact on the ice, he had a difficult time staying on it.
When healthy, his two-way ability is part of what makes Ryan Murray great. He is great at moving the puck and he should be a consistent threat on the power play. His breakout 2018-19 season saw him post 29 points over 56 games. For a top-four defender, that is a solid number in terms of offence. Considering this is a team that also has Zach Werenski and Seth Jones, they do not need to rely on him to be the best blue-liner. Now a member of the New Jersey Devils, they may need to get better play out of him. Their defence does not boast the same level of talent. Murray should help.
Standing 6’1″, Murray does not have the size needed to intimidate forwards. This leads to him being a less physical player. His lack of intimidation in the defensive zone has led to a poor Corsi and Fenwick rating. His relative Corsi percentage sits at -1.9 for his career. Granted the Blue Jackets have been a bad team in many of the years he has played, they have always had a good defence. With improved defensive play, Ryan Murray becomes a top defender.
General manager continues to reshape the Devils in his vision. He traded a fifth-round pick he got in the Wayne Simmonds trade to Columbus for the number two overall pick from the 2012 NHL Entry. Look for the Devils to remain active as free agency begins tomorrow. As for Columbus, they open up about $11.8 million in cap space to make a splash on Friday during free agency.
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