The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded defenceman Ryan Murray to the New Jersey Devils for a fifth-round pick in 2021. This move followed the earlier buyout of 26-year-old forward Alexander Wennberg and the trade of defenceman Markus Nutivaara to the Florida Panthers. With those moves, they cleared a total of $11.1 million in cap space.
Murray has spent his entire career with the Blue Jackets after being selected second overall in the 2012 draft. In seven injury-riddled seasons, he posted 15 goals and 110 points in 347 games.
Murray has one year remaining on his contract, originally signed in 2019, that carries a $4.6 million cap hit. He now joins a Devils’ team that is looking to bounce back from an abysmal season in 2019-20. As a left-defenceman, he could partner with PK Subban to form a very strong top-pairing. He will likely play on the power play as well, and be counted upon to eat up a lot of minutes on a blueline that looks to be rebuilding after essentially doing the same thing last offseason.
If Murray can stay healthy, which is a big ask since he’s only played one full 82-game season in his NHL career, he will bring a top-four presence to a team that badly needs it. Once thought of as a blue-chip prospect, he hasn’t hit his supposed potential yet, and probably never will. Nevertheless, he remains a very solid puck-moving defenceman with great hockey IQ. If all goes well, he could turn his career around in New Jersey.
Blue Jackets Clear Cap Space Ahead of Free Agency
The fifth-round pick in 2021 may seem like a low return for a player of Murray’s caliber, but that is just the way the cookie crumbles in a salary cap world. The move was obviously done to clear space so that the Blue Jackets have wiggle room to re-sign restricted free agent Pierre-Luc Dubois and be major players in free agency.
With all the moves done by Jarmo Kekäläinen in the past 24 hours, he must have his sights on a few high-priced free agents that will hit the market on Friday. Taylor Hall has been rumored as a target to add some scoring and with the recent acquisition and signing of Max Domi, the Blue Jackets clearly are looking to add some offensive punch going into 2020-21. Now they have the cap space to add a former Hart Trophy winner to their lineup in a few hours’ time.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, editor, part-time journalist, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.