New Devils by the Numbers

The Devils today announced the numbers their new acquisitions will be wearing for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

Ryan Murray will be the 34th player in team history to wear the number 22. Patrik Elias actually wore that number when he debuted in 1997 before switching to his more familiar number 26, which has since been retired by the club. Jordin Tootoo wore the number notably in 2016 while Kyle Quincey was the last to do so in 2017.

Andreas Johnsson will become the 21st Devil to wear the number 11, the first since Brian Boyle did so in 2018-19.

Free agent signing, goaltender Corey Crawford will be the second Devils player in history to don the number 50 on his back. The other was Evan Cormier, also a goalie, who did so last season briefly.

Speaking of Crawford, there was a fantastic article on the Devils app today written by Amanda Stein that notated Crawford idolizing none other than Martin Brodeur while growing up.

Crawford, Stein said, grew up in Chateauguay, Quebec, which is “just a short drive from Saint-Leonard where Martin Brodeur was raised.”

Crawford went on to say on the Speak of the Devils Podcast that the team puts out that he “had posters of” Marty on his wall growing up. He said that he “started idolizing Marty, you know, he’s unbelievable, just how good he was with the different style of play. And, you know, he was fun to watch. And I had, I still have, that ‘Heaven’, VHS, I think back home, from when they won [in 1995].”

He is, of course, referring to the 1995 Stanley Cup video put out by the NHL for the Devils. On a personal note, I wore that sucker out from the sheer amount of viewings and even had a friend who would religiously watch it each and every day for about a year to keep the memory fresh in his mind.

But back to Crawford. When the Devils were courting him as a free agent, they had a secret weapon: Martin Brodeur.

Marty spoke on the phone with Crawford, recounted Stein, trying to convince him to sign.

Corey told Matt Loughlin and Stein on the Speak of the Devils Podcast: “That was a big surprise. Obviously, I’m from Montreal, Marty was a pretty big idol of mine growing up, you know, I watched him and [New Jersey] when they were winning Cups. So, to talk to him on the phone was pretty cool. It’s pretty special. And, you know, it definitely, definitely persuaded me to think about Jersey and what they can offer.”

And what Crawford can offer the Devils is being a part of a top goaltending tandem with Mackenzie Blackwood. He will also make a great mentor for the young Blackwood. Crawford was brought here to not only take some pressure off of Blackwood and be a good 1A/1B pair, but to also be a locker room leader. He has been there; he has won Cups with Chicago. He is a proven winner and can bring a lot to the Devils via his leadership.

Corey Crawford is here to help the Devils get back to those Broderian days, to get the Devils back to the top.

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.