One of the top remaining unrestricted free agents is now off the market. Defenseman Ryan Murray, ranked No. 22 in PHR’s Top 50 UFA’s and the fourth-highest ranked unsigned free agent has found a new home, at least for the time being. The Colorado Avalanche announced that they have signed Murray to a one-year, $2MM contract.
Murray, 27, could be quite the bargain for the Avs, coming off of a contract that paid him $4.6MM annually. The 2012 second overall pick may not be the two-way dynamo that many expected when he was drafted, but he has developed into a strong defensive player who can contribute modest offense as well. Murray is a solid positional defender who blocks shots and wins puck battles with regularity and can move the puck up the ice, making him an easy player to hand significant ice time. In 395 career games, Murray has recorded 124 points and 663 blocked shots in over 20 minutes per game.
The issue with Murray is health. The injury-prone blue liner has missed nearly 220 games in his career due to various ailments. However, at just $2MM Murray is well worth the gamble for the Avs. The team may have been looking for a veteran defenseman following the departure of Ryan Graves, but in reality Murray is a luxury for the team. With a top four of Cale Makar, Samuel Girard, Devon Toews, and Erik Johnson, budding youngster Bowen Byram, depth option Jacob MacDonald, and new addition Kurtis MacDermid, the Avalanche are more than capable of surviving a Murray injury absence.
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The most important ability is availability.
Is that true though? I’m available and not one team has knocked on my door.
Great signing if he can stay healthy.
“The most important ability is availability.” Sakic got a goalie who can only stay healthy one day a week.
This is a very obviously incorrect statement, but…I don’t think there are any Stanley Cup contenders next year.
It’s TB, by default, but between fatigue, bad luck and a weakened roster, they shouldn’t be favorites by any stretch.
COL is listed as the favorite by odds makers. But as mentioned above, Kuemper is never healthy.
VGK is third behind TB, but they still have no center depth and Lehner isn’t Fleury.
BOS is fourth, so I guess they will lose Krejci and go from perennial Vezina candidate Rask to Ullmark and not miss a beat?
CAR is fifth. They lost Hamilton and have reshuffled the netminders without really upgrading.
TOR is sixth. Questions in net. Questions about depth. They pretty much have a “1940” kinda thing going by now.
PGH is seventh. I really, really hope they are right. Pens don’t look like a playoff team (without help) to me.
NYI and FLA and next. These are two teams that if some things break right and players grow, I could see being contenders by the end of the season. Those are “ifs”.
MIN rounds out the top ten. For reasons someone would have to explain to me. Their top line center is Victor Rask.
How could you rank the Isles that low? Lol