We've finished our player and management grades for the 2014-15 season, but that was just 9 people talking about what they think--and it was a lot of information to talk about. Now it's time for our readers to cast their votes. And with that in mind, we present our Your Say series!
Bryan Murray has had a hell of a year and it's been about more than just hockey. Murray has been remarkably courageous and open about his battle with cancer. The impact of his honesty and candour on the subject can't be overstated. He's been an inspiration and a wake up call for countless people and I know we all have nothing but respect and admiration for how he's handled himself through all of this.
There were a lot of things to like about Bryan Murray’s year. A number of good players were locked up for the foreseeable future. Anderson, Lehner, Methot, MacArthur, and Ryan stand out as key signings that should benefit this team moving forward. While the Ryan signing and the dollar figure that comes with it is was the most controversial of the three, it’s also the one that best represented a vindication for many Ottawa fans. It was a huge relief for those of us who are tired of seeing so many of our high profile players walk out the door and hearing the talking heads reiterate incessantly that Ottawa isn’t a place that players want to go or stay. I think Murray managed to send a message this year, and while it’s yet to be seen how these signings play out in the long term, I like that message.
One place in which I personally struggled in assessing Murray’s year was in determining how much value to put on the current impact of his past work and decisions. Do you fault Murray this year on the Smith, Neil, Phillips, Greening and Cowen signings of the past? Do you give him credit for helping draft and sign guys like Turris, Karlsson, Hoffman and Stone who had outstanding years and played way above their pay grade?
More immediately, the Spezza trade wasn’t what we thought it would be and Chiasson didn’t have the impact many of us thought he would. I take the less popular stance that Chiasson and Legwand quietly had pretty solid second halves of the season but I don’t think either of them did anything that wouldn’t have been pretty replaceable by guys from Bingo.
Murray didn’t do anything at the deadline. In retrospect that looks like a pretty great move. He also was apparently one unreturned phone call away from trading Patrick Wiercioch and spent most of the season trying to move Condra. I don’t like that, Bryan.
Murray is cash-strapped as a GM and he shares some of the blame for that. A lot of money this year went to guys who were either scratched very often or should have been. My biggest fear moving forward is that the run the team had this year will serve as Melnyk's vindication, his podium from which he speaks louder and with more conviction about his ideas which the rest of the numbers don't necessarily support.
Highest grade: B+
Lowest grade: C-
Average grade: C+