A little analysis on the soon to be named new LA head coach Terry Murray. As we said earlier today, a very accomplished coach, he's coached parts of 11 seasons in the NHL (with Washington, Philly and Florida) and 9 of those teams went to the playoffs. Only 5 active coaches have coached more playoff games and he's one of only 10 active coaches to have a winning playoff record.
His 1st season in Washington (1989-90) he took them to the conference finals (the John Druce year) and they probably would have went further the next two years if they didn't run into the eventual champs from Pittsburgh. In Washington he helped Kevin Hatcher break out to the tune of 34 goals in 1992-93 and he gave Peter Bondra his first break at age 22 and by 24 he was posting 85 points.
In Philly Murray inherited a young team that missed the playoffs the prior year and his 1st year he took them to the conference finals and helped a 21 year old Lindros win the Hart Trophy. He's the one that put the legion of doom together including Lindros (21), Renberg (22) and Leclair (25) and they took him all the way to the finals in 1996-97. He also gave players like Niinimaa (21), Prospal (21), Zubrus (18) their breaks into the league.
Florida was the 2nd worst team in the league before he arrived and he took another young team to 17th overall during his 1st season and then 8th overall the next year (1999-00, which if you're a big Florida fan that year will ring a bell as the last time you guys made the playoffs). In Florida he gave prime assignments to guys like Parrish (21), Kvasha (20), Boyle (22), Jokinen (22) and Luongo (21).
So three key traits can be gathered from his past that may help fantasy hockey GMs:
(1) He's not afraid to break in rookies and rely on young players;
(2) His teams are typically strong offensively with an above average power play; and
(3) He loosens the reigns and lets the dmen jump into the play to create some offense.
We think his resume is pretty impressive and we're not sure why he had to wait 8 years to get another head coaching gig. We're guessing that LA GM Dean Lombardi felt the same way and the two probably enjoyed working together in Philly and Lombo thinks that his young LA team needs the leadership of a guy like Murray to help them develop and take them to the next level.
So this looks to be good news for fantasy hockey GMs as Marc Crawford couldn't really spark the offense in LA and might have been reluctant to play some of the kids. Now young players such as Kopitar, Brown, O'Sullivan, Purcell and Boyle should be given a chance under Murray to shine and young dmen like Jack Johnson, Peter Harrold and possibly Drew Doughty and Thomas Hickey will be counted on for quality minutes and offense... now only if they could find a goalie.