Ryan Murray
Ryan Murray
26-Year-Old DefensemanD
Columbus Blue Jackets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $9.2 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets in July of 2019.
Big night in Carolina
DColumbus Blue Jackets
October 12, 2019
Murray recorded two assists while adding two shots, two blocked shots and a plus-3 rating in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Hurricanes.
ANALYSIS
After being held without a point through the first four games of the season, Murray came through with a huge performance to help hand Carolina its first loss of the year. The 26-year-old did set career highs with 29 points (one goal, 28 assists) and a plus-20 rating in 2018-19, but without regular power-play time Murray's ceiling is limited in most fantasy formats.
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2019–20 Time On Ice Stats
  • Average Time On Ice:
    20:11
  • Average Power Play TOI:
    0:11
  • Average Short-Handed TOI:
    2:24
 
Ice Time
Power Play
Short-Handed
2017–18
18:26
0:17
2:01
2018–19
21:26
0:36
2:32
2019–20
20:11
0:11
2:24
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Blue Jackets Power Play Depth Chart
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
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
Back not an issue
DColumbus Blue Jackets
September 14, 2019
Murray says he's fully recovered from the back injury that sidelined him for the end of last season, Brian Hedger of The Columbus Dispatch reports.
ANALYSIS
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Re-ups with Columbus for two years
DColumbus Blue Jackets
Back
July 1, 2019
Murray (back) signed a two-year, $9.2 million contract extension with the Blue Jackets on Monday, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports.
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Qualified by Columbus
DColumbus Blue Jackets
Back
June 25, 2019
The Blue Jackets have extended Murray (back) a qualifying offer, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports.
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Ends year on IR
DColumbus Blue Jackets
Back
May 8, 2019
Murray (back) saw his season come to a close while still stuck on injured reserve.
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Given three-month prognosis
DColumbus Blue Jackets
Back
May 6, 2019
Murray was given a three-month prognosis from the time of injury (Feb. 18), according to GM Jarmo Kekalainen, Brian Hedger of The Columbus Dispatch reports.
ANALYSIS
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