When Ryan Murray was drafted second overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012, the long term plan was to have him be the franchise #1 defenseman.
As years have gone on, and injury after injury has ridden his career, Ryan Murray has found himself in and out of the Columbus Blue Jackets lineup under Tortorella. Whether it be due to health concerns, or just poor play, the past six seasons for Murray haven’t panned out like the Jackets, or Murray, would have hoped.
With Zach Werenski and Seth Jones at the top of the Jackets lineup and a plethora of young defenseman in the organization like Markus Nutivaara, the time has come to decide the fate of Ryan Murray’s future. With only a one-year contract being signed this past summer, this served as the bridge for the Jackets to decide what they will do with the 25-year-old defenseman.
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The decision is simple. Trade Ryan Murray before this season’s deadline, let him walk, or sign him as a long term defenseman that won’t play top-line minutes.
Take for example the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are still searching for defenseman as they have the best offensive player in the world, Connor McDavid, but continue to lose for the fact they’re relying on Darnell Nurse to carry the entire defense.
2020 1st Round Pick
Why it makes sense for Edmonton:
Nugent-Hopkins currently has $18,000,000 remaining on his Cap hit for the next three seasons, meanwhile Ryan Murray has $2,825,000 remaining for just this season. Cap-wise this makes sense for the Oilers to dump cap, while getting back a player who can make an impact right away on the defensive end. Murray would be one of the best defenseman the Oilers would have and he can contribute on the power play. They also save money to sign a another free agent defenseman in the offseason, which they will still need even after the addition of Murray.
Why it makes sense for Columbus:
Gaining Nugent-Hopkins would be a game changer for the Jackets front end. With the uncertainty around Panarin, the Jackets desperately need somebody who can play 1st line minutes and being a center is a huge plus. With Alexander Wennberg struggling like he has so far this season, Hopkins would jump onto the 2nd line right away, giving his linemates a huge boost. Also this clears the backend for younger rookie defenseman to get a shot at the NHL level.
A trade of this caliber would push the Jackets back into contention and spark the offense to compete night in and night out, which so far this season we have seen the offense disappear often.