With the trade action around the NHL ramping up in the past few days more and more unexpected players have become available. The most recent of these players is Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Ryan Murphy, who could be a smart grab for Marc Bergevin.
CAR also getting calls on 23-year-old defensemen Ryan Murphy, signed through next year. Imagine the preference would be young forward back.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 28, 2017
At first glance, a return of a young forward is something Montreal can manage, specifically in Michael McCarron and Charles Hudon. Carolina is looking to build for the future with draft picks and young prospects, which could fit the bill for acquiring the Habs top forward prospects.
Murphy is just 23, and could step into Montreal’s NHL line up right away if needed. Outside of Nathan Beaulieu and Nikita Nesterov the Habs lack a young puck moving defender, and with Alexei Emelin’s recent struggles this could eventually become a major boon for Marc Bergevin.
Perhaps the biggest sticking point in this trade would be which young forward from Montreal that Carolina would like in receive. Right now the aforementioned McCarron, and Hudon come to mind, but Nikita Scherbak could also be of interest to the Hurricanes front office. Not to mention the Habs have an abundance of good draft picks in the next couple years.
For a capable defender who is still under contract for another year after this, it seems like a reasonable price to play, especially in terms of potential. While the prospects mentioned are valuable to Montreal, being able to acquire exactly what they need in the lineup typically doesn’t come at such a low asking price.
Murphy is a former first-round pick, and fits the bill as a puck moving defender than Montreal needs in their system.
A quick glance at his HERO chart indicates he does quite well to suppress shots against, while also generating a fair amount of offense in the other direction. Clocking in at 50.63 CF% he’s a positive possession player, and with Claude Julien’s new system it’s entirely possible those numbers trend even further upwards.
It’s worth noting that despite a solid pedigree, Murphy has never played a full season in the NHL, often splitting time between the Charlotte Checkers and the Hurricanes since his rookie season.
While not as dominant this year Murphy seems to be following along the same path that Nathan Beaulieu did when breaking into the NHL, although Murphy played on far less successful Carolina teams while doing so. In the AHL his numbers look extremely promising. Playing at a near point per game pace in Charlotte as a defenceman is a good sign.
Is Murphy a fit in Montreal?
If Montreal is still seriously in the market for a puck mover on the blueline, then this is a chance Marc Bergevin cannot pass up. Murphy checks a lot of boxes that the team needs, youth, offensive ability, and not overly expensive.
However, Ryan Murphy is not the difference maker the Habs are looking for, even though in the future he could very well become an invaluable asset. Right now he can fit in the bottom pairing and create a solid platoon of capable players for the Canadiens if injuries should arise. Murphy could also prove to be a major get for the the IceCaps this year too, should he be assigned to them. The team sorely needs another solid blueliner after losing Mark Barberio, especially during their playoff push.
It’s not an immediate fix, but the acquisition of Ryan Murphy could go a long way to setting the team up for future success. It’s not often that a player of his potential is available for a low asking price, so it’s well worth the time for Marc Bergevin to pick up the phone and place a call to the folks in Raleigh.
editors note: Due to the current issues throughout the internet, we are not able to upload any pictures. We will update the article with a lead image and analysis charts as soon as possible.