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.