Per The Athletic’s Blackhawks writer Scott Powers, Stan Bowman has recently spoken with the Columbus Blue Jackets about a trade for defenseman Ryan Murray. Murray (25) is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason. The Blackhawks would be trading for the rights to Murray, with hopes of signing him to an extension.
Murray would be a perfect addition to the blue line. He is a left-handed shot who is capable of top-pair minutes. Realistically, the Hawks probably need two top-four defensemen in order to begin solving their defensive woes. Murray would be a good start. He was originally the second overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
One glaring issue with Murray is injuries. In his six-year career, the Jackets’ defenseman has only played 82 games once. In those six seasons, Murray has missed an alarming 172 games with various injuries. This past season, he was sidelined with an upper-body injury that caused him to miss 26 games and the playoffs.
Knowing the injury history, Bowman would be taking a huge gamble, but if healthy, Murray could certainly help sure up the Hawks’ blue-line. One question surely lingers: What would Columbus want in return?
All but surely, they’re going to want draft capital. After trading for Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, and Adam McQuaid at the trade deadline, the Blue Jackets didn’t leave themselves with many draft picks. They also face the possibility of losing Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Duchene, and Dzingel to free agency this summer.
Columbus may be looking to retool with younger players, so acquiring draft capital will be on their minds. They currently only hold a third and seventh-round pick in the upcoming draft. The Blackhawks hold seven picks in the draft.
Bowman won’t give up the third overall selection for Murray. After that, he holds a pick in the second round, two picks in the fourth round, and one in each of rounds five through seven. Bowman will need to be smart this time around because we know how the last trade with Columbus went.
It appears talks haven’t gotten serious yet between the two sides, but this will be something to keep an eye on leading up to the NHL Draft and free agency. Bowman seemingly always has a way of surprising everyone, good or bad, so keep your eyes open as the Hawks’ GM attempts to right the ship.
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