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Montreal signs veteran D Murray: one year, $1.5 million

Aug 22, 2013, 11:44 AM EDT

Douglas Murray #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 3, 2013 in New York City.
(April 2, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens have made an interesting move, signing defenseman Douglas Murray to a one-year deal.

The contract is worth $1.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Murray, 33, split last season between San Jose and Pittsburgh, scoring six points in 43 games (and three in 15 playoff games). He was acquired by the Penguins at the trade deadline and saw an uptick in minutes (17:09 average TOI in San Jose; 18:30 in Pittsburgh) before falling back to around 15 minutes per night in the postseason.

Vancouver was reportedly interested in the hard-hitting blueliner, but Montreal seemed a more natural fit for Murray given the uncertainty surrounding Alexei Emelin.

Emelin, 27, tore up his knee in April after colliding with Boston’s Milan Lucic and underwent surgery in May. With his recovery projected to go into the start of the 2013-14 season — NHL.com’s Arpon Basu reports the Habs “have no definitive idea” of when Emelin will return — Montreal was in need of another physical presence (Emelin led the team in hits last year, with 110, despite missing the final 10 games of the regular season.)

At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Murray is capable of filling the void, but there will be questions about his foot speed and skating ability, neither of which looked good during Pittsburgh’s playoff ouster to Boston.

  1. pensman29 - Aug 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Pair him with subban maybe?

    • missthemexpos - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      I would pair him with Nathan Beaulieu.

    • hockey412 - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      That’s too many minutes. He’s not that kind of D man.

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    As a sharks fan, I can tell you, your getting one the most physical players in the league and a good defensive defensman. However, he is not the defenceman he was a couple years ago, he is a lot slower now and it shows. But he will definetly help you guys out with his size and physicality. Good luck

    • c9castine - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      as a pens fan, i totally agree. ill bet if we werent so loaded with defenseman and money we would have signed him. michel therien knows how to use defenseman like this really well, another thing i know as a pens fan. he will make montreal a better team and harder one to play against.

    • greenmtnboy31 - Aug 22, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      We definitely need size and physicality in Montreal. He’ll be good, reasonably priced insurance for Emelin and who knows, if Emelin returns healthy, maybe he becomes good trade bait. Pairing him with Subban may not be a bad idea, given Subban is among the best skating defensemen in the league and maybe Murray can help Subban with the toughness he’s lacking.

  3. rushledger - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I liked him with the penguins but his speed was a serious issue during the series we struggled and or lost with the Islanders and Bruins. Still a little surprised he’s just getting picked up now.

  4. hockey412 - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    I think his speed would be less of an issue if he took less chances. In the playoffs especially he seemed like he would take chances (whether it be going for a pinch, trying to intercept, etc) and land out of position. He does NOT have any type of recovery speed…if MTL can get him to control that, he’s going to do ok.

  5. joey4id - Aug 22, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    More of an horizontal move than a vertical one. Adding another body such as Murray doesn’t add much depth to the existing D core. Perhaps he’s an insurance policy for the ailing Markov.

  6. jpelle82 - Aug 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    for that 1.5 price, i’m surprised other teams with needs didnt snag him up sooner. that’s about perfect for his services at this stage of his career.

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