Devils Acquire Defenseman Murray

The Devils today traded their fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Ryan Murray.

Murray, a 6-feet, 1-inch, 205-pound, 27-year-old native of Regina, Saskatchewan, was the Blue Jackets’ first-round pick (2nd overall) in the 2012 Draft. He has played 347 career NHL games over seven seasons (all with Columbus) and has 15 goals and 95 assists totaling 110 points to go with 104 penalty minutes and a plus-13 plus/minus average. Over his 347 games, he has averaged 20:21 of ice time. All of this information comes from the Devils’ official PR release.

He has participated in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games where he has a goal and two assists (three points) and four PIMs.

The PR release mentioned that Murray, last season, had two goals and seven assists (nine points total) in 27 games played, he averaged 19:57 of ice time in the regular season. In the 2020 playoffs against Toronto Maple Leafs (qualifying round) and Tampa Bay Lightning (first round), he played in nine games and had a goal.

The release also notes that 2018-19 was Murray’s best season to date, as he “set career highs in assists (28), points (29) and plus/minus (+20), while leading the club in average shorthanded time on ice (2:32) in 56 games.”

Devils Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald said: “Ryan is a smart, two-way defenseman who fills a need on the left side of our top four. His poise, defensive acumen and transitional game will pair nicely with our current defensemen on the right side and he will play an important role for us.”

Murray just turned 27 on September 27. He played from 2009-10 to 2012-13 with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League and was the team’s captain “in his last two seasons.” He played 191 WHL games, scoring 22 goals and 99 assists for a total of 121 points. In the WHL playoffs – he played in 20 – he notched six goals and 10 assists totaling 16 points and taking eight PIMs.

Murray played for Canada internationally at the 2016 World Championships (winning a gold medal) and the 2012 World Junior Championship (winning a bronze medal). He also took part in the 2012 and 2018 World Championship where Canada did not medal. He played for Team North America (the team of players from the United States and Canada under-20 if I recall correctly) at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Devils to Part Ways with Schneider

According to Amanda Stein this morning on the “Inside the Devils Blog” on NewJerseyDevils.com, the Cory Schneider era in New Jersey is about to come to an end.

Stein reports that the Devils have placed Schneider on waivers and, should he go unclaimed, will buy out the last two years of his contract.

The veteran, who has battled injuries as he has gotten older, was put on waivers today at noon. Each team will then get a chance to claim him. Should the other 30 teams pass, his contract will be bought out.

Schneider came to the Devils as a potential heir to an aging Martin Brodeur. He was acquired at the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the Devils’ first round pick in that Draft. Vancouver took Bo Horvat with that selection.

Over the ensuing seven years as a Devil, Schneider played in 311 games going 115-133-50 over that stretch, Stein points out that he started 302 of those 311 games. She also notes that those 115 wins place him second to Brodeur on the Devils’ all-time goalie wins list.

For comparison, Marty has 688, although that does not speak to Schneider’s lack of talent in any way, obviously. Just Marty’s once-in-a-lifetime greatness and Cory’s unluckiness. He played at a time when the Devils were certainly in a down-swing – even taking a backseat in their only playoff appearance during his tenure to Keith Kinkaid – and not icing very good teams.

Schneider, Stein mentioned, had his best season in 2015-16. That year, “he recorded a career-high 27 wins in 58 games played. That same year, he represented the New Jersey Devils at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.”

Besides wins, which Schneider realistically had no chance of coming close to Marty in, where does he rank in franchise history?

Well, Stein wrote that he is second in saves made in franchise history with 8,023 (second again, she points out, to Brodeur – who made 28,776) and third in team history with a 2.50 all-time goals against average. Here he trails Johan Hedberg (2.42) who is second and, once again, Brodeur, who is first with a 2.24 GAA. He is also second in shutouts (17) and minutes played (17,872).

Where he does rank first in Devils history is with his save percentage of .915. A fitting place in the record books for a guy who played behind some terrible, porous defenses.

So, now that the Devils have closed the book on Cory and decided to move forward with Mackenzie Blackwood and their other prospects (goaltender Nico Daws was taken in the Draft yesterday), what does this mean for him? He will likely land somewhere as a backup, which is kind of heart wrenching for those who remember his time in Vancouver where he and Roberto Luongo never really got named the top goalie before they were both traded, or wash out of the NHL completely through retirement.

I, personally, would love to see him coach. He always seemed to have an even-keel personality no matter how frustrating things might get for him or the team. He certainly cares about people, as his Cory’s Keepers program for kids could attest to. If he wants to, I could certainly see him get a job as a goaltending coach down the line.

But until then, farewell Cory. You never really had a fair shake here and it was tough to see your prime wasted on mediocre, at best, teams and to injuries. Good luck as you continue your hockey journey.