Oilers odds and ends

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Murray (28) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ryan Murray (28) Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the preseason well underway for the Edmonton Oilers. Here are a couple of quick odds and ends to break down over the past couple weeks.

Oilers sign Ryan Murray

Before the season the Oilers signed Ryan Murray to a one year contract at NHL minimum of $750,000.

The Oilers have an indirect historical tie to Murray, who was the second player in the running for who the Oilers picked at first overall in 2012. The organization, as it goes, bypassed Murray in favour of winger Nail Yakupov, who later turned out to be one of the biggest draft busts in NHL history. To be fair to the Oilers, though, Central Scouting was pretty high on him too, so it wasn’t just the Oilers scouts who got it wrong.

He was projected to be the next 40 goal scorer and instead couldn’t even muster half that in a season. Would the Oilers have been better off with Murray? While it is true that Murray is still playing in the NHL while Yakupov isn’t, Murray came with his own set of baggage.

He’s been plagued with injuries his entire career – he’s only played an 82 game season once in his nine year NHL career. During that time, he hasn’t been a particularly spectacular player. He’s cracked the 20 point mark three times but has never evolved above that. He’s been OK defensively but has never had any sustained success in that regard from season to season.

The best thing you can say about Murray is he was less of a failure in his draft class than Yakupov was, not exactly what you’d call a high barometer. That draft was a bit of a miss for a lot of teams – in fact, the best pick of the first round turned out to be Filip Forsberg, who was drafted 11th overall and put up 469 points in 566 games – and then Washington foolishly gave him away to Nashville in a swap of prospects that will go down as one of the worst trades in the NHL history for them. Mind you, players like Morgan Reilly, Hampus Lindholm, Matt Dumba, and Alex Galchenyuk also went in the top 10 in that draft too, so not exactly slouches outside of the best pick. Oh, and also Tom Wilson and Andrei Vasilevsky were drafted in the first round in 2012 too, both core pieces to this day for their respective teams.

Even when Murray won the Cup last year for the Avs, he didn’t play a single playoff game for them, he was a healthy scratch the whole time. That’s gotta be a bit bittersweet for him.

Anyway, Murray’s injury history has made teams wary of giving him a top four type role in the NHL. He’ll play the role of part time veteran for the Oilers next season, possibly going full time if Broberg isn’t up the task – but since Broberg didn’t look out of place on the top pairing last season during callup time, I’m assuming he can handle a full time role in the bottom pairing.

Not a signing to be excited about, but par for the course.