Year End Reviews – Murray

Bryan Murray, an Ottawa Valley native, has been with this franchise for 4 years now, including the lost lock-out year.  He started in the role of coach, from behind the desk in Anaheim, and many believed it was a temporary move, before eventually becoming GM.  This happened after the glorious Cup run of 06/07, where Murray returned behind the desk, and took over the reigns of a depleted farm, but a well set table.

Whether by GM choice, or by committee, the hiring of Paddock was Murrays first move and, frankly, it’s been all down hill from there, eventually ending in this team missing the post season for the first time in over a decade.

It’s always hard judging a GM, as really they inherit a lot of what happens early on in their tenure, but there is no doubting that, from an on ice performance perspective, the team that went to the Cup under his coaching guidance, has stumbled badly under his GM guidance.  He owns that, fair or not.

This past season was horrific.  Hartsburg seemed to poison the well with statements of bravado before the team was even assembled for the first practice, and his defense only system stifled the teams best asset, it offensive creativity, and replaced it with a boring, spiritless game of dump outs, and passivity.  Just when it seemed all was lost, along came the two people Murray owes credit to for his still being employed; B. Elliott, and C. Clouston.

Elliott provided what this team had been lacking for 2 straight seasons, consistant goaltending, and Clouston provided what this team most needed, spirit, positivity, and a system that complimented their strengths, while compensating for their weaknesses.  Suddenly the Sens were a team that worked hard, believed they could win, and looked forward to getting to the rink everyday.

So where does this leave Murray?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  No doubt he played a role in both the failures, and successes of this team, but to what degree, I’m unsure.  In terms of his signings/trades, they were good, but also had some ups and downs.

J. Smith certainly didn’t look very good at 2.6M, but we have to remember, he was out soon after the team turned it around and, like the rest of his teammates, judging his performance before Clouston came along is rather grim.  Could he be worth 2.6M?  It seems a long shot, especially with his most recent injury, and if I had to bet, I’d say no, and chalk his signing up to being a bad deal.

Kuba & Picard for Mesz.  For the money alone, not to mention the term commitment given to Mesz, this was a steal of a deal.  Kuba has proven to be a bonafide top 4 Dman, and more than replaced Mesz in that capacity, for less money.  Picard remains a TBD commodity, but at 800k, he is sure to at least earn his salary, if not exceed it.

Hank & 1st for Campoli and Comrie.  This one is still TBD.  Campoli showed flashes of top end ability, but he remains a bit too raw.  He tries, and maybe a bit too hard, and should he settle in to his role, and accept it will take time to fully develop his skills, he may make this trade look very lopsided.  As it stands, it’s probably a draw, as all good trades should be.

Vermette for Leclair and a 2nd.  Again, still too early to call.  Vermette has certainly been a big boost to CLB, so no doubt they’re happy, and if Leclair can live up to his billing as a legit #1, the Sens will be ecstatic, making the 2nd rnd pick a nice replacement for the loss of the SJ #1 pick to NYI.

Bryan Murray  – D.  You just can’t move a team from contention, to missing the play-offs, and still expect a passing grade.

Next year however, is all his, as apart from Phillips, Volchy, Bass and Foligno, all other contracts have his name on them.  Now, to be fair, he can’t make miracles happen in fixing Mucklers draft mistakes, but he has signed the core of the team, and that is enough talent to form the basis of any contending club, given good stewardship from above.

Just like the players, Mr. Murray, it’s a summer to reload, and learn from past mistakes, in an effort to achieving the best possible outcome.



4 Responses to “Year End Reviews – Murray”

  1. Woozle man Says:

    Also, let’s see how some of BMs draft picks come along in the next 1-2 years. O’Brien will likely see time in Bingo next year. Karlsson and Wiercioch will probably both be in Bingo after next year (maybe this year, who knows).

    Also, this year in the off season will be a big one for BM. What happens at the draft? Do we trade to move up? Do we keep the 2 second round picks and get good value for ’em? Hard to say until much later. Though, I have to really wonder how much drafting is really the work of a GM versus the scouts and director of hockey operations.

    • The draft realy is the grease for a team. Without good quality players in the system, the whole machine grinds to a halt, and in someways, the recent decline of the Senators is due in part to this situation.
      How much influence does the GM have, a lot, in how they direct, support, listen to and fund the scouts.

  2. I believe Murry can fix this, I was pretty scared this season with everyone calling for his head cause firing him now would be the worst thing the Sens could do. He has an awesome draft record and I’m one of those people who think he built the Anahiem Stanley cup team.

    Now this was a pretty bad season for him, but he has a plan for the future and this team can turn it around but Murray can’t make anymore mistakes. I don’t think this should be his last chance but sadly it is. If the Sens start off slow next season, he’s gunna get fired, which sucks.

    • I agree Nick, I too was worried Murray would be turfed. Not worried so much for the loss of Murray, but more so for the continued turmoil this would inflict on an already topsy turvy situation. More than anything this team needs some stability, and direction, and I doubt another GM is going to come in and do so much better than Murray as to make the resulting chaos worth the result.

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