While news has started trickling out about the Coyotes’ inability to sign RFA Tobias Rieder, Arizona may be closing in on one of their other remaining unsigned players. Craig Morgan of AZSports reports that Brian Bartlett, the agent for restricted free agent Connor Murphy expects to have a deal done by the end of the week.
Murphy, 23, saw his role with the Coyotes improve drastically last season especially following the trade of Keith Yandle. After the trade, he logged over 22:30 per night (up from 19:50 pre-trade) and held his own against tougher opponents. The bone-crushing hitter isn’t an offensive or possession dynamo, though he did contribute 17 points last season, and saw some limited powerplay action.
Even with the addition of Luke Schenn, Murphy will probably slot in beside another newcomer in Alex Goligoski on the second pairing next season, with fellow unsigned RFA Michael Stone skating alongside superstar Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Obviously, these pairings will be settled in camp, but Murphy will try to continue his strong development from first-round pick (20th overall in 2011) to top-four defenseman.