We finally learned on Monday whether the Sharks were going to make a move before the trade deadline when they dealt defenseman Douglas Murray to the Penguins.
In exchange, the Sharks receive a second round pick in 2013 and a conditional second round pick in 2014. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the 2014 pick becomes a third rounder if the Pens do not re-sign Murray this summer or if they fail to make it to this year’s conference finals.
Via Kevin Kurz, here’s Sharks GM Doug Wilson:
“We have tremendous respect for Douglas as a hockey player and a person. He has been a warrior for our hockey club for the past eight seasons and he has been in the Sharks family for the past 14 years. This deal places Douglas in a quality situation which he deserves.”
And here’s Murray, per David Pollak:
“San Jose has become home for me and I’m leaving with an empty feeling with the teams we had here not getting it done,” Murray said Monday morning. “But it’s extremely exciting going to Pittsburgh, going to the best team in the league already. They always have some great players and I’m just excited to get there, get used to the team and take a run at the Stanley Cup.”
The burly Murray (6-foot-3, 240), who will become an unrestricted free agent after this season, has spent all eight of his NHL seasons in San Jose and had 6 goals, 53 assists. (He’s even been romantically linked by the tabloids to Elin Nordegren!)
What Murray lacked in speed he made up for with his punishing hits, blocked shots, penalty killing and just being a big body clogging the area around the Sharks’ net. He was an excellent defensive force when the Sharks were at their peak a few years ago.
Here he is effortlessly tossing Corey Perry aside like a rag doll:
Kyle Chipchura barely made it back to the bench after this Murray blow on the open ice:
And Ryan Kesler gets his bell rung in the 2011 West Finals:
Really, this could go on and on. The point is Murray is a guy you want on your side.
But the Swede has struggled the past two seasons and has arguably been the team’s worst member of the blue line unit in that time. This season Murray has racked up a -8 plus/minus rating.
The Sharks still have considerable depth at the blue line—they go seven deep at the position when Brent Burns isn’t schooling Ryane Clowe at how to be an effective forward—and the emergence of youngsters Matt Irwin, Justin Braun and Jason Demers made the 33-year-old Murray all the more expendable.
That Wilson was only able to get a couple of second rounders is a little disappointing. Also, given that the picks are coming from the Penguins, the best team in hockey not named the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s likely those selections will come late in their respective rounds. The Sharks desperately need to replenish their stockpile of young up-and-comers (or lack thereof), and it would have been nice if they could have pried a first rounder out of Pittsburgh.
But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. And with the Sharks getting a couple high-round picks in exchange for their worst defender who wasn’t getting any younger and who might not have been with the team next season anyway, you can’t complain.
From the Sharks:
All the best to a great friend and teammate Douglas “crankshaft” Murray in Pitt. #animal
— Ryane Clowe (@ryaneclowe29) March 25, 2013
Sad to see Crank go
— Logan Couture (@Logancouture) March 25, 2013