murray,douglasThe Canadiens are on the verge of signing big defenceman Douglas Murray to a one year contract worth 1.5 million dollars.  It’s being called an “agreement in principle” which only means all of the paperwork hasn’t been completed.

The 33-year-old Swede is 6’3″ and 245lbs.   His nicknames are “Crankshaft” or “Hulk” for obvious reasons.   Murray split last season between the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring one goal and adding five assists in 43 games.

Murray is a stay-at-home defenseman who takes full advantage of his size.  Was a solid penalty killer and prolific shot-blocker.  A mirror image of Alexei Emelin who will not be available to the team until December.  He will drop the gloves on occasion.  hockeyfights.com shows 34 fights over his NHL career including three in 43 games last season.

That’s the good part.  On the down side; last season he seemed to be slowed down either by injury, age or simply the wear and tear on his body.  The Canadiens were surely aware of that and still signed him, which may mean they know something we don’t.  Mitigating the risk, Murray comes cheap and short term.

Murray, a graduate in hotel administration from Cornell University, is coming off a four-year deal he signed with San Jose prior to the 2009-10 season worth an average annual value of $2.5 million.  He was traded to the Penguins at the deadline for two second-round draft choices, joining the club at the same time as Jarome Iginla, Jussi Jokinen and Brenden Morrow.  

George Parros vs. Douglas Murray - 2009 Playoffs

George Parros vs. Douglas Murray – 2009 Playoffs

In a 2010 Sporting News poll  of North America’s Top 20 Smartest Athletes Murray finished at No. 16, behind only one other NHL player, fellow Ivy Leaguer and now teammate George Parros, a Princeton grad in economics who finished No. 4 overall.  

Parros and Murray actually fought each other during the 2009 playoffs (video below).   “I asked, ‘Do you want to do this?’ ” Parros said. “It wasn’t an intellectual conversation.”

While at Cornell, Murray and a buddy invented the multi-faucet Ubertap that allows party-goers to fill multiple glasses of beer from a keg simultaneously.   Murray explained,  “I guess it took too long to get beer in college, so we invented a quicker way to get it. A friend had an idea. We ran with it. It was a great experience, learned a lot from it”.

He also made tabloid headlines when he was seen with Tiger Woods ex-wife Elin Nordegren in Miami last December.

In eight NHL seasons with the Sharks and Penguins Murray has registered seven goals and 55 assists.  Last season, in 43 games he ranked 20th in the league in both blocked shots (98) and hits (203).

 

Here’s Murray in action 

 Douglas Murray vs. George Parros  April 21, 2009