Ryan Murray is Critical to the Blue Jackets' Hopes This Upcoming Season

By Jacob Nitzberg on September 14, 2019 at 9:10 am
Jan 10, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray (27) takes the puck from Nashville Predators center Colton Sissons (10) during the second period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

There's no question that Ryan Murray is an excellent defenseman.

There is, however, the question of whether he can remain healthy.

In the last three seasons, Murray has only played 60, 44 and 56 games out of a possible 82. His absence has certainly been felt on both sides of the ice. 

When Murray is healthy, he and David Savard form an outstanding second pairing. With Savard's tendency to stay at home, Murray's offensive game can flourish. He notched a goal and 28 assists in 56 games and was an outstanding +20 on the year. Per Hockey Reference, Murray was responsible for 5.7 of the points the Blue Jackets earned in the regular season despite playing just 56 games. 

The Blue Jackets have a lot of very capable defensemen. In fact, they might look to trade one or more to acquire some offensive talent. 

So, technically speaking, they have insurance for Murray if he gets hurt. It's hard to replace Murray, and the Blue Jackets did it by committee late last season and into the playoffs. 

The Blue Jackets are a much better team with Murray on the ice. His vision with the puck and ability to play on the power play are excellent assets, and his puck handling is great as well.

Murray has been able to play one full 82 game season in his six with Columbus. Here's to hoping he can stay healthy and complete another one.