While all is quiet in the hockey world entering September, the Chicago Blackhawks made sure to lock up one of their most important pieces on defense. In what would have been a contract season for defenseman Connor Murphy, the two sides have agreed to a four-year contract extension beginning in the 2022-23 season.
Murphy's new $4.4 million cap hit is arguably a steal for the 28-year-old defenseman. Entering the 2021 offseason, the Blackhawks wanted to revamp their defensive core. The team traded Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers, traded Nikita Zadorov's rights to the Calgary Flames, and made big splashes in other trades and free agency.
After acquiring Caleb Jones in the Keith trade, the Blackhawks made a huge splash acquiring Caleb's brother, Seth Jones, from the Columbus Blue Jackets. In addition, the team also signed Murphy's longtime friend, Jake McCabe, to help strengthen the blue line.
Murphy presents more to the Blackhawks than just strong defensive play. Murphy wore a letter quite often last season, tangibly exemplifying his leadership qualities. Now, the Dublin, Ohio native will continue wearing the iconic Blackhawks sweater for five more seasons.
In 50 games last season, Murphy tallied 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) while setting a career high for time on ice. His 22:09 per game was his best since the year prior, where he originally set his career best with a 21:15 TOI.