On Saturday afternoon Boston Bruins' general manager Peter Chiarelli announced that the team has bought out veteran right winger Glen Murray. Murray, 35, had one year left on his contract in Boston and was slated to make $4.15 M next season.
Since the lockout ended Murray's point totals have decreased in every season. In 2008-09 Murray recorded a measly 17 goals, 30 points, and was a minus-4. Sadly, his goal total was good enough to tie him for fourth on the team with Captain Zdeno Chara.
It came as no surprise when Chiarelli made the call on the weekend. Anybody who pays any attention to hockey could have seen this coming.
The buy-out was more of a money issue if anything. Why would a team pay over $4 M for somebody who won't even break the 20-goal plateau? I actually ask that to any team after watching how much money is being thrown around at second-rate free agents.
The reality is Murray is starting to slow down. Is it age? Is it the speed of the game? Is it his passion? I wouldn't have a clue. But the one thing I know is that his passion shouldn't be questioned and that he still has some fight left in him.
The fact is that Murray three years ago was worth the money. Now, as his light is beginning to fade, he isn't even close to being a $4 M+ player in the league. And with the new CBA intact nobody will want to give him more than one-year at a time (any player who signs a contract after the age of 35 and retire will still have a cap hit for the remainder of the original contract).
However, Murray can still contribute to any team at a lower price.
I believe in all honestly the Bruins would have liked to keep Murray in the fold. If he were dropped to the third or fourth line he could play a smaller role for the team. With all the young-guns like Patrice Bergeron, Phil Kessel, and David Krejci he wouldn't be relied upon to score 60-70 points a season.
There will be plenty of teams who will be arranging interviews with Murray in the near future. Nashville and Florida would be interested in Murray, but it would appear that Los Angeles would be the best bet.
The Kings are faced with the exact opposite dilemma than the Bruins. While the B's bought Murray out to down-size the payroll, the Kings still need to hit the salary cap floor. L.A. sits at $27.75 M and has to add approximately $12 M to make the floor.
This seems like the problem that every team wishes they had, right? Well, next year they won't be faced with that issue as Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson will have completed their entry-level contracts. Kings GM Dean Lombardi is planning ahead and making sure that there is enough money to go around to the future of his team in hopes that the Kings will someday be a force to be reckoned with. Having Drew Doughty, Thomas Hickey, and Jonathan Bernier around the corner doesn't hurt either.
But that will be the case next summer. Now we sit at the end of July and see how this team is not even close to the cap floor. Signing Murray would only make sense, seeing as he would be suitable to add to the second or third line to provide stability and leadership. At this time the Kings are left without any captains.
Instead of having the league appoint players to the Kings to fill up the salary cap it would be logical to add players who will actually make a difference. Even though he didn't have his best years, Murray actually spent parts of six seasons in Tinseltown. A second try in L.A. wouldn't hurt.
Murray has nothing to lose and neither do the Kings. Murray can still contribute by helping the maturing process of rookies by easing them into the roster and giving pointers on how to become a mainstay NHLer. His ideal contract (wherever he ends up) would be in the vicinity of $2-2.5 M for a one-year contract.
Although Murray isn't the same player as he was in the past teams shouldn't give up on him. He'll be able to produce in another capacity and help the team as a whole. Murray is a great team player who will provide a great amount of leadership wherever he lands.