directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Murray signs....roster for next year slowly being "glued" together

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Murray signs....roster for next year slowly being "glued" together

Puck-rakers just reported that 26 year old rookie Andrew Murray has been signed to a 3 year extension.

More glue.

Murray has made a great showing for himself since being called up 25 games ago. Little by little his role has grown on the team as he gains the confidence of Hitch and the coaching staff. So far he's notched 5g, 2a in 25 games played. As I stated yesterday that gives him as many goals as guys like Vyborny and Modin and more than regulars like Peca.

Murray will be making 600,000k per year over the 3 years.

Murray has shown consistent play since being called up. He isn't afraid to go to the "dirty" areas, he's very responsible with the puck and seldom loses battles. He uses his big frame well and has even shown a quick burst over the past few games. He plays that North American style that Howson/Hitch love so much and has shown the ability to kick in some goals with limited ice time.

So its obvious Murray is part of the future here but where does he fit? With this signing things are looking a bit clearer. Here are my absolute locks for next season:

Nash XXX Modin
XXX XXX Zherdev
Chimera XXX XXX
Boll Murray XXX

Klesla XXX
Russell XXX


Recent signings are Chimera & Murray so you know they are part of the future. Nash & Z - a given. Modin has hopefully had a fluke injury year and no way the Jackets want to move a big body like him who has 2 years left - besides he has a NTC and this team needs quality veterans like him. Boll ain't goin anywhere but maybe up the lineup.

I think every other spot is up for grabs. I realize Malhotra and Novonty have 1 year left on their deals but I would hardly call them locks -- they could trade bait this offseason. Same with Dan Fritsche -- honestly, is Fritsche any better than a guy like Murray? I would argue no. I'm not so sure this organization will re-sign Michael Peca unless they miss out on some other younger more offensively hungy talents but I wouldn't rule him out completely.

Then of course there are the younger guys like Brule, Brassard & Voracek. One could be dealt this offseason for immediate help but I would imagine the other two would somewhere in this lineup.

Guys like Lindstrom, Sestito, Pinneault, Dorsette and Picard could earn a spot in camp,

Klesla is the one guy who will absolutely be back next year. Kris Russell is another guy I see as part of this defense next year.

The two other guys under contract are OK Tollefsen and Marc Methot. Tollefsen was rumored to be part of the Brad Richards deal so to me this guy could be trade bait so he's not a lock. Marc Methot appears ready for the full time jump but I really think Howson wants to remake this defense so he could end up a depth guy again in the 7th hole -- all depends on what Howson brings in.

Hainsey, Tarnstrom & Hejda. None are locks but I could see one of the 3 back next year.

Leclaire isn't going anywhere and is resigned to a lengthy deal. Norrena has one year left on his deal and is again brought back as a backup as his contract is cap friendly and we couldn't do much better for a backup on the UFA market.

So congrats Andrew Murray! It was a long road to the NHL for you've earned it bud!


No comments: