The Chicago Blackhawks are on the hunt for a defensive upgrade, and Scott Powers of The Athletic (subscription required) reports on at least one name they have inquired about. In a new column on all things Blackhawks, Powers notes that the team recently spoke with the Columbus Blue Jackets about Ryan Murray though it “doesn’t appear a deal is getting done.”
While they may not end up with Murray, the talks are just another indication that Chicago will be trying to find a solution to their blue line problems this summer. The team allowed the second most goals in the NHL last season with 291—only behind the Ottawa Senators’ 301—and failed to get a ton of offensive production from anyone other than Erik Gustafsson and Duncan Keith. While Gustafsson’s 60-point season was obviously a huge and welcome surprise, the team obviously needed an upgrade if they want to get back to playoff contention.
Some of that will come from within, but there also may be some effective defensemen on the market this summer. The team is finally in a position where they aren’t squeezed too tightly by the salary cap, and can add some skill on the back end to help take some pressure off the aging Keith and Brent Seabrook.
Murray, 25, might be exactly what the Blackhawks are after. Originally selected second overall in 2012, Murray has shown a strong ability at both ends of the rink but hasn’t been able to stay healthy the last several seasons. In 2018-19 he recorded 29 points in 56 games, which would have put him third on the Blackhawks blue line even with the shortened year. Powers suggests that draft picks and prospects might be enough to get a deal done with Columbus given their lack of future assets after going all-in this season, but nothing seems imminent at this point.