Douglas Murray , who was worth giving up two second-round picks for the Pittsburgh Penguins to acquire him at the trade deadline last season, remains on the free agent market. However, he could have a potential suitor in the Vancouver Canucks.
Jim Jamieson of the Vancouver Province caught up with Murray's agent, who confirmed the Canucks are one of the teams that have shown interest.
“We've talked to them off and on all summer,” said player agent Anton Thun. “At this point we're not close to signing. There are a group of clubs that have interest, so it comes down to the right circumstances and the right dollars.
Vancouver assistant general manager Laurence Gilman didn't confirm to Jamieson that Douglas Murray is a target, but did say that the team is looking for a defenseman. The club only has six players under NHL contract on defense presently.
“We are looking to add another NHL calibre defenceman to our group and have had discussions with numerous agents regarding various players currently available in the market,” Gilman said in a text message.
Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Murray is surfacing as an option a day after the agent for Canucks' restricted free agent defenseman Chris Tanev revealed his client is drawing interest from KHL teams and a Swiss league club.
“We fully anticipate a deal getting done with Vancouver, but there has been serious interest from Europe,” Tanev's agent Ross Gurney told the Province.
As a restricted free agent, Tanev's only real leverage in getting a favorable contract is the threat of bolting for Europe.
The Canucks have about $4.3 million remaining in cap space for next season. So this doesn't necessarily mean re-signing Tanev and bringing in a more experienced free agent blueliner is an either-or situation. The team does have decide rather soon, however, how much of a priority getting Tanev back under contract is.
Tanev, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent out of college hockey, is just 23 and showed real promise in 38 games for the Canucks last season. Murray, meanwhile, is 10 years older and has showed more signs of slowing down over the last two years, particularly in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he was averaging just 15:19 a game.
That said, Murray is a veteran guy with some physicality and a lot of postseason experience. He is also a good shot blocker, which could pique the interest of new head coach John Tortorella.
Either way, the Canucks have options for how they address their blue line, even in this late stage of the offseason.