Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray
25-Year-Old DefensemanD
Columbus Blue Jackets
2018 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a contract with the Blue Jackets in July of 2018.
Makes impact in return
DColumbus Blue Jackets
January 14, 2019
Murray recorded two assists in Sunday's 7-5 win over the Rangers.
After missing a game due to illness, Murray bounced back with his first multi-point effort in over a month. The blueliner is only three points shy of tying his career high of 25, and while his checkered injury history can't be ignored, he seems headed for a solid second half.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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
Returning Sunday
DColumbus Blue Jackets
January 13, 2019
Murray (illness) will return to the lineup for Sunday's game against the Rangers, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports.
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Will not play Saturday
DColumbus Blue Jackets
January 11, 2019
Murray (illness) has been ruled out for Saturday's game against the Capitals, Brian Hedger of NHL.com reports.
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Finds scoresheet against Carolina
DColumbus Blue Jackets
January 4, 2019
Murray picked up an assist in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes.
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Ready to roll Tuesday
DColumbus Blue Jackets
December 4, 2018
Murray (foot) will play in Tuesday's game against the Flames, Brian Hedger of NHL.com reports.
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Exits late, seen limping
DColumbus Blue Jackets
December 1, 2018
Murray exited late in Saturday's game against the Islanders with a bruised foot and was spotted limping in the locker room, according to The Athletic's Tom Reed.
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