By Ken Will
Welcome to Pittsburgh, Douglas Murray. And don’t call him Doug. Seriously.
On Monday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they had acquired Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a second-round draft pick in the 2013 entry draft and a conditional second-round pick in 2014. This move came at the heals of Sunday’s news that general manager Ray Shero had sent Joe Morrow to the Dallas for Stars’ captain Brenden Morrow.
D Douglas Murray
Age:33 Height:6-3 Weight:245 Shoots:Left Cap Hit:$2.5 million – Signed through 2013
NHL Stats in 2012-13: 29 Games Played, 0 Goals, 3 Assists, 0 Points, -8, 26 PIM, 56 Hits, 64 Blks
2013 Second-Round Draft Pick
2014 Conditional Second-Round Draft Pick
Douglas Murray is a big, big man.
Going into this season, there were several glaring holes in the Penguins’ lineup. There was the need for a winger to play with James Neal and Evgeni Malkin. Beau Bennett has filled this spot nicely following Eric Tangradi‘s departure, and now they have added depth with the addition of Brenden Morrow. The Pens also had a patched up defensive corps that had been openly criticized following last year’s first round playoff exit in which the Penguins allowed 30 goals in six games. Paul Martin was a question mark and there were concerns over exactly how prepared Simon Despres was to perform at the NHL level. Still, the biggest affront to the Penguins’ defense was that they were too soft. Particularly around their own net.
Enter Douglas Murray. At 6-3, 245 pounds he is simply a massive human who plays a big game. He led the Sharks with 64 blocked shots, which trails only Brooks Orpik on the Penguins’ roster. Murray is a player who does not shy away from physical contact and isn’t afraid to drop the mitts from time to time. The knock on his game is that he is not a great puck mover nor is he the most mobile skater in the league. Ok–so if you taught a refrigerator how to skate, it would pretty much be Douglas Murray. But still, getting hit with a refrigerator would hurt and you’d think twice about allowing it to happen to you again.
When the Penguins’ acquired Hal Gill from Toronto he was 33 years old. Many considered him to be washed up and beaten beyond repair. When he came into the system at Pittsburgh, he would eventually learn to thrive on playing within his positioning and made himself a key component of the back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Finals. Douglas Murray is at the same stage of his career where he is primed to reshape his game. Don’t be surprised if his is a name that is loved in Pittsburgh before very long.
Oh, and by the way, I’m not so sure that Ray Shero is done. Look for him to bolster the depth in the bottom six and possibly replenish a few of the Penguins assets over the next week.
What do you think of the Penguins’ trade for Douglas Murray? You can reach Ken on Twitter @PensNation_Ken