Connor Murphy has quietly become the top guy on the Chicago Blackhawks blue line, and without him, this defense would be a lot worse.
Murphy’s beginning in Chicago was not great, as it came during the ‘Hawks decline from contender to rebuilder, but as the team starts on this new turn back to contention, Murphy is set up to be the face of the blue line.
Connor Murphy has two goals and three assists this season. He is second to only Duncan Keith to ice time. Murphy has on average 22:45 minutes of ice time per game, but when it comes to breaking down the time on ice, Murphy is actually beating Keith in some categories.
The only reason Keith is above Murphy is because of his time on the ‘Hawks power play. Murphy is actually leading the team in ice time on five on five, and the penalty kill with 19:23 and 3:15 minutes respectively per game. The 27-year-old defenseman is quietly becoming the new shut down guy in Chicago.
The Chicago Blackhawks are lucky to have Connor Murphy on their blue line as they enter this new era.
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Murphy is not afraid to use his size for the team, something we have not seen from ‘Hawks players in the past. Murphy is the second tallest player on this team at six foot four inches, only behind Nikita Zadorov. He uses his body, having blocked a team-leading 28 shots and dished out 25 hits so far this season, and that number will only go up.
At 27 years old and under contract through the end of next season, Murphy is definitely one player the ‘Hawks are lucky to have around. He can be an instrumental piece of this blue line for a long time, and in the next few years, being able to pair him with a more developed Boqvist or Mitchell will make this team great.
The Blackhawks blue line has seen a lot of movement this season as Colliton and the coaching staff tries to figure out what pairings work out best, but I do think that the team can’t go wrong pairing anyone with Murphy.
When he is next to a player like Calvin de Haan, the ‘Hawks have two great defensemen in their own zone ready to go. When Murphy is next to Keith, Chicago can let Duncan Keith run wild and take a few more chances in the offensive zone, and pairing him with one of the new players on this blue line takes a little bit of stress off of the younger players to do everything right.
Hopefully, Connor Murphy will have a long career with the Blackhawks, as this year is showing that he can be an instrumental piece in the lineup for years to come.