Murphy, 28, is an interesting story. The 12th overall pick in 2011, he never reached the expectations many had for him a decade ago, but he also didn’t ever flame out of professional hockey. Instead, he has just continually signed NHL contracts, bouncing up and down between the minor leagues and filling in whenever needed. The majority of his games played game early in his career, but he was still playing in the NHL as recently as 2018-19.
Then, in 2019, he decided to head to the KHL, where he scored 23 points in 56 games. That seemed to get his offensive game right back on track, as he returned this year and led all AHL defensemen in scoring with 27 points in 37 games for the Henderson Silver Knights. That earned him the Eddie Shore Award as the best defenseman in the AHL and a place on the Pacific Division All-Star team.
With 175 NHL games over his career, he’ll join the Red Wings depth chart and could add to that total. He’s still just 28 and could get another opportunity to show what he can do, especially if the team moves some of their veteran options at the trade deadline. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll likely give the Grand Rapids Griffins an All-Star performance, helping develop some of the organization’s young prospects.