Battalion Breakdown is a closer look at the Blue Jackets' past season from a numerical standpoint, starting with the highest jersey number and counting down to the lowest. Today, BlueJackets.com examines Ryan Murray's season and how it impacted Columbus in the 2017-18 campaign.
Birthdate: Sept. 27, 1993
Height/Weight: 6-1, 205
After five seasons with the Blue Jackets, Ryan Murray's profile as an NHL defenseman is both tantalizing and frustrating.
The second overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft has proven himself to be reliable defensively and a capable playmaker offensively, whose vision of the ice and pinpoint passing allow him to set up some beautiful goals. He's also been injured, a lot, including prolonged absences the past two seasons with various injuries.
This past season, Murray had a goal and four assists in the first 24 games but left the lineup with a back injury following a game Nov. 27 in Montreal and didn't return until Feb. 20 in New Jersey.
He only missed three of the remaining 23 games, helping the Blue Jackets qualify for the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but played in just 44 of 82 regular-season games in all. Murray was also coming off a season when he missed 22 games with multiple injuries in 2016-17, including a broken hand.
He did play all 82 games in 2015-16, finishing with 25 points on four goals and 21 assists, but Murray's career has been plagued by injuries thus far. Last season was just the latest round.
Still, in the games he was able to play, Murray proved his upside.
His two assists Mar. 19 against the Boston Bruins were key in the Blue Jackets overcoming a late deficit to force the game past regulation and win it in overtime - keeping a season-high, 10-game win streak alive - and then added an assist in a 5-3 victory against the New York Rangers the following night at Madison Square Garden.
Here's a closer look at Murray's 2017-18 season by the numbers:
Despite playing 16 less games than he did in 2016-17, Murray put up 12 points on a goal and 11 assists. That was one point more than he had the season prior, when he had 11 points on two goals and nine assists in 60 games. His 0.27 points-per game average was .09 higher and was close to matching the 0.29 per game he averaged in his first three NHL seasons.
Murray missed 38 games, including 35 straight from late November to mid-February with an injury that occurred Nov. 27 against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. He also missed one more game, Mar. 12 at Nationwide Arena against the Canadiens, and was a healthy scratch Mar. 15 in Philadelphia and April 7 - when he was among a large number of regulars who were scratched after the Jackets had secured a spot in the playoffs.
Murray battled through the back injury, but also picked up the physicality. He was credited with 31 hits, which was the second-most of his NHL career and eight more than he delivered in 2016-17, when he played 16 more games. Murray averaged 0.70 hits per game in 2017-18, which surpassed his 0.62 per-game rate in 2015-16, when he had 51 hits in 82 games.
Murray finished with one goal on 34 shots for a shooting percentage of 2.9 percent, which was his NHL career-low. Murray's shooting percentage has steadily declined in the past four seasons he's played at least 40 games, starting at 6.5 percent as a rookie (2013-14). His career-high was 12.5 percent in 2014-15, but Murray only played 12 games that season because of injuries.
What you see with Murray is what you usually get, statistically speaking. Murray had 101 PDO last season, which is a big-picture stat used to decipher luck. It's calculated by adding the on-ice shooting percentage of a player's team and the on-ice save percentage. Numbers exceeding 100 indicate a player who might be experiencing good fortune and could be in for a negative market correction, while players below 100 are seen as "unlucky" and due for a positive market correction. Murray's career PDO in five NHL seasons is 100.3, which means the numbers he's put up thus far aren't expected to change much going forward.
Despite his injury issues, Murray sacrificed his body in the Blue Jackets' six-game loss to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Murray blocked 20 shots, an average of 3.33 per game, after blocking 75 shots in 44 regular-season games (1.71 per game). Murray has blocked an average of 1.69 shots in 264 NHL regular-season games and 2.72 per game in 11 career postseason games.