- 28 years old, 4th year in National Hockey League
- $625,000 cap hit
- 1.1% of Columbus Blue Jackets salary cap
- Contract expires at end of this season
- 2009-2010 numbers: 46 games played, 5 goals, 2 assists, 7 points, -6, 6 penalty minutes, 10:21 avg. time on ice
I was going to write about how this is a pivotal year for Andrew Murray on a host of fronts:
- He's a 4th line center on a team with a number of rising young players
- He's a late-blooming 28-year-old in the last year of his contract
- If you believe The Hockey News Yearbook, he's already been passed by Tomas Kana on the depth chart and thus actually projects to start the season in Springfield as a result.
- He plays with a lot of energy and enthusiasm that just isn't projecting onto the stat sheet.
Now, as I write (and I'm writing in advance of posting to ensure that I can squeeze all of the player previews in by the start of training camp), the Blue Jackets have signed forward Ben Guite to the roster. With that, it sure seems like the competition for the 4th line just got a lot tougher.
The only thing I can see going in Murray's favor, other than his ever-impressive motor, is the fact that he scored every one of his five goals after March 1 last year (some of which were playing with top-two line talent like Voracek, Brassard and Umberger) - meaning that he got his shot in the post-Hitchcock games and took full advantage of it. That is a very positive sign if people like Scott Arniel and Scott Howson are paying attention.
I'm never going to bet against a guy like Andrew Murray. People like him seem to rise to the occasion to find and keep their place on the team. At the same time, he's got a tougher path to that roster spot than he's probably had at any point in his NHL career.
It'll be one wild training camp for Murray -- I sure hope that he's ready for it. Can he step up to the challenge?