Over the course of the next month, Chicago Hockey Now will be profiling every Chicago Blackhawks player from the 2022-23 season. Today, will be defenseman Connor Murphy.
Games Played: 80
(Goals – Assists – Points): 7-6-13
Contract Status: 3 Years – $4.4M AAV
The Short View
It’s simple–steady and solid speaks to Murphy’s game. He scored a career high in goals with seven and had 13 points in 80 games in 2022-23. Murphy is a defeseman’s defenseman–responsible in his own end, and always seemingly in the right spot. He’s not expected to put up gobs of points as say a Seth Jones, but he’s counted on to be the part of the pairing who is there to seal off scoring chances.
The Long View
Acquired in the Niklas Hjalmarsson trade back in 2017, it’s crazy to think that Murphy has been in Chicago six seasons. He has a modified no-trade clause and still has three seasons left in Chicago. Murphy has been the source of trade rumors going back to the trade deadline but has maintained he wants to stay with the Blackhawks. It gets interesting, then, knowing that the Blackhawks could fetch a decent return should he be made available. If indeed Toronto is going to sell one of their core-four, the reliable Murphy seems a smart piece of the deal since Toronto will likely look to shore up its blue line. That’s mere conjecture, however, Murphy is well liked in Chicago and was known for his good deeds such as when he tossed his stick over the glass to a fan at her first game.
The Bottom Line
Murphy is a solid piece of Chicago’s blue line, but if the right deal comes along and it fits into his modified no-trade, perhaps everyone decides to go different ways. At the same time, his $4.4M cap hit is reasonable for a reliable defenseman. No, Murphy isn’t going to light the lamp on a regular basis. He might not be guy racking up the assists, either. But he’s the reliable defensive pairing who will make the smart play that leads to a scoring opportunity. Murphy may very well stay as Chicago builds and become a part of the accelerated rebuild plan. Maybe he ends being dealt.
Whatever it is, the reliable defenseman will end up helping whoever, and wherever he ends up.