We’re just heading into the part of the NHL’s calendar where we start hearing trade rumors as GMs league-wide try to rework their rosters to allow for some free agent pickups before July 1st. The gossip mill has already started in San Jose with the arrival of Brad Stuart as Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz wrote a couple days ago that Murray’s the odd man out and could be traded. Momentum continued when a popular Oilers blog went so far as to analyze the prospects of adding Murray to their talented roster.
If you don’t read Kurz’s stuff, you should and can get it here. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should and can find him here. Still, I think we hold onto Murray for the upcoming campaign. Murray was middle of the pack for plus/minus, and he contributed to the “plus” part of his ledger with…4 POINTS! In other words, Murray is our team’s stalwart, stay-at-home defenseman and isn’t interested in putting up good offensive numbers. He’s interested in playing D. He’s tough in front of the net, strong on the puck in the corners and isn’t afraid of a good, ol’ fashioned donnybrook, although admittedly he hasn’t thrown down with the frequency he did in’07-’08 in a while.
Maybe the most convincing statistical evidence: he had 33 giveaways and 14 takeaways, giving him a -19 giveaway:takeaway ratio. Looking at this year’s Norris candidates, two of them, Karlsson (-17) and Chara (-19), were comparable (Weber was an absurd +5). The other three of our team’s top four defensemen? Boyle (-45), Burns (-50) and Vlasic (-26) all fared worse.
Point is that if the Sharks resign Stuart, and I’d be a big fan of the idea, we should still hold onto Murray. It could be just that Crankshaft seems like a good dude and my buddy JJ has his jersey, but ultimately he’s got a manageable cap hit of $2.5M and we need him back there. You can never have too many good defensemen, especially come playoff time. Once Murray heals from being banged up, we should have him back in teal for the start of the 2012-2013 season.
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