Douglas Murray was a late addition to the Montreal Canadiens. He was also a polarizing force between Stats-people and People who watch the game. Murray’s value can be debated, but there was only one right answer.
STATS: 53 Games | 0 G-2 A = 2 P | 42 PIM | -12 | 41.4% Corsi | 0.1 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 3 games | 0 G-0 A = 0 P | 0 PIM | -1 | 29.6% Corsi
STORY: When Murray was added to the roster, I thought it would be as a temporary spot holder until Alexei Emelin came back from his injury and rookies like Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi were ready to take over. I didn’t think that he would have played 53 games – which would have been more if not for suspension and injury.
Luckily, in the playoffs, Murray was eventually benched first for Francis Bouillon and then for Nathan Beaulieu. And even when Emelin went down in the playoffs, it was Beaulieu that took his spot. The knock on Murray is that he is slow and unable to get the puck out of his zone ending in eventual icings or goals against.
That was what pretty much happened. Murray was able to get big hits, but even those eventually moved him out of position. The thing about stay at home defencemen is that they stay at home because they can’t get anywhere else. Murray, like Parros, was brought in for toughness and size. By the time the playoffs came around, people realized it wasn’t necessary.
This was a tough one to grade, because by all accounts he was the Canadiens worst defenceman this season. However, not much was expected of him. Murray’s biggest problem was that the coaches kept playing him over guys like Beaulieu, Tinordi and even Bouillon. But that’s not his fault.
However, Murray was the 5th worst Corsi defenceman among NHL defencemen with at least 41 games played. The only players behind him played for the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs. (In case you’re curious, Carl Gunnarsson, Mike Weber, Jamie McBain and Dion Phaneuf). The next ranked playoff player was a tie for 16th between Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Deryk Engelland and his teammate Bouillon.
FUTURE: Murray is an unrestricted free-agent on July 1 and it is expected that the Canadiens will let him go. With Beaulieu’s performance in the playoffs and the emergence of a better veteran option in Mike Weaver, Murray’s size will likely be elsewhere next year. And without a doubt, some general manager will sign him.