Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray
28-Year-Old DefensemanD
Colorado Avalanche
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Murray hasn't lived up to expectations since being drafted No. 2 overall in 2012, but he's a solid depth defenseman when healthy, which unfortunately has rarely been the case during his career. Murray made a brief stop in New Jersey last season, posting 14 assists in 48 games. He signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Colorado in free agency, a deal that should work out well for both sides if Murray can suit up on a regular basis. He should post 20-plus points in addition to a solid plus-minus rating in 2021-22, but Murray's lack of production in the hit and block departments will limit his fantasy value. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $2M contract with the Avalanche in August of 2021.
Lands deal with Colorado
DColorado Avalanche
August 2, 2021
Murray signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Avalanche on Monday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports.
ANALYSIS
Murray is coming off a 2020-21 season where he tallied 14 assists and a plus-3 rating through 48 games with the Devils. He averaged 18:37 of ice time, his lowest mark since the 2017-18 campaign. The 6-foot-1 blueliner has scored 20-plus points three times in his career, most recently when he registered a career-high 29 points during the 2018-19 season.
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2020–21 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    18:37
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:04
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    1:41
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2018–19
21:26
0:36
2:32
2019–20
19:57
0:52
2:03
2020–21
18:37
0:04
1:41
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
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2018
2017
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2012
2011
Acquired in an offseason trade with Columbus, Murray could find himself in a top-pairing role on the underwhelming left side of New Jersey's defense corps. The second overall pick from the 2012 draft has never been able to live up to his draft slot, with injuries playing a sizable role in Murray's lack of success. He has never reached five goals or 30 points in a season and has just 110 points in 347 career games, so Murray will require a major spark from his change of scenery to put his name on the fantasy map outside of deeper formats.
Murray's inability to stay healthy remains a serious problem -- he only played 56 games last season, and has missed 86 games over the last three years -- but when he was on the ice he was surprisingly productive, posting career highs with 29 points and a plus-20 rating. The 25-year-old isn't physical, but he has the hockey IQ and vision to provide excellent support for both his forwards and his goaltender, even if Murray doesn't quite have the offensive skills to be a true top-pairing defenseman. Signed to a two-year extension in the offseason, the Jackets have the depth to withstand his frequent absences from the lineup, but if Murray could somehow manage to stay healthy he could put up some very intriguing numbers.
It's clear at this point that Murray is never going to live up to the billing of being the second overall pick in the 2012 draft. Injuries have certainly hampered the 24-year-old's development, but he simply lacks the top-shelf offensive gifts, the physical presence or the elite hockey IQ to be a real difference-maker on the blue line. Fortunately for the Blue Jackets, they have two guys who do check those boxes in Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, so Murray can comfortably slide into a less demanding role more befitting of his solid all-around skill set when he's healthy enough to suit up. He does have one 82-game campaign under his belt, so a full season of action isn't out of the question, but even if he does shake the injury bug, expectations should be kept low.
Injuries continue to hamper Murray and prevent him from living up to his billing as the second overall pick in the 2012, and his status in Columbus has dropped to the point that the rumor mill suggested he would be left unprotected in the expansion draft. That didn't prove to be the case, but on a blue line now built around Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, the 23-year-old’s role remains in question. When healthy, he still possesses the smooth skating and passing skills to be effective, even if his offensive ceiling seems lower than it did when he was a prospect, but he has little chance of seeing significant power-play minutes in Columbus. The best case scenario for Murray in 2017-18 might be a solid 80-game season on the Blue Jackets’ third pairing that rehabilitates his trade value.
While Murray's 25 points were a modest career high, the most important number for the 22-year-old defenseman was games played. After struggling with various injuries since being drafted second overall in 2012, he suited up for a full 82-game schedule for the first time in his career last year, marking a crucial step forward. The midseason trade for Seth Jones also took some pressure off Murray to become the Blue Jackets' leader on the blue line, as Jones is better equipped to shoulder that responsibility. That doesn't mean Murray will be relegated to a depth role, however. The duo were very effective together down the stretch and should be the team's top pairing both at even strength and with the man advantage for years to come; while Jones has the more imposing physical presence, Murray's hockey IQ, vision and passing skills are all exceptional. Expect him to set some new and more impressive career highs this season.
There's no doubt that Murray is supremely talented -- he wasn't the No. 2 overall pick in 2012 for no reason, after all -- but injuries have dogged him throughout his playing career. Last season was the worst yet, as he played just 12 games thanks to knee, ankle and foot injuries. On the bright side, Murray's just entering his age-22 season, so all hope isn't lost. However, even if he can stay healthy, he'll be hard pressed to put up a lot of points despite a top-four role, as Kevin Connauton is likely to occupy left defense spot on the Jackets' power-play unit.
While injuries continued to dog him, Murray's rookie season was fairly successful. Scoring 21 points in 66 games won him a spot on the Blue Jackets' second defensive pairing and he proved himself to be mature far beyond his years. The presence of Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski prevent him from seeing big power play minutes, which limits Murray's fantasy potential, but it won't be long before he establishes himself as a rock-solid two-way blueliner and an indispensable part of Columbus' future.
The 2012 second overall pick Murray played in just 23 WHL games last year due to a separated shoulder. Assuming he's fully recovered from surgery, he'll head into camp looking to win a spot with the big club. There are no weaknesses in Murray's game, and he's capable of making an impact at both ends of the ice with smart, steady play, but don't look for big fantasy numbers from him right away.
Despite a lack of offense that was about to be exacerbated by the Rick Nash trade, the Blue Jackets passed up the chance to add a potential franchise forward to the organization at this year's draft and instead used the second overall pick on Murray. It's hard to argue with their choice though as he was arguably the most NHL-ready player available, showing a tremendous amount of poise, leadership and maturity during his junior career to go along with an extremely well-rounded skill set. The Blue Jackets' blue line is deep enough that even if Murray does break camp with the club, he won't be required to shoulder a heavy offensive burden, but it will likely just be a matter of time before his play starts demanding ice time in key situations.
Signed a three-year deal with the Blue Jackets in July of 2012.
More Fantasy News
Bags another apple
DNew Jersey Devils
April 30, 2021
Murray dished out an assist in Thursday's 5-3 win over the Flyers.
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Three helpers against Caps
DNew Jersey Devils
April 4, 2021
Murray notched three assists in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Capitals.
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Multi-point night in shootout loss
DNew Jersey Devils
March 30, 2021
Murray recorded two assists and a plus-3 rating in Tuesday's 5-4 shootout loss to the Bruins.
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Stuck on four points
DNew Jersey Devils
March 26, 2021
Murray had one shot, one blocked shot and a minus-1 rating in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Capitals.
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Sat out as healthy scratch
DNew Jersey Devils
February 27, 2021
Murray was a healthy scratch for Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Capitals, Corey Masisak of The Athletic reports.
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