The Arizona Coyotes saw blue liner Connor Murphy put up a career high in points during his 2015-16 season.
Now, they’ve banked on him continuing to improve by locking him up long-term.
The Coyotes confirmed on Thursday morning that Murphy, who finished his 2015-16 season with six goals and 17 points over 78 games, has inked a six year extension with the Pacific Division club. The deal – which pays out just $3.85 million per season over each year – will carry him through until he is 29, at which point he will be an unrestricted free agent.
Drafted 20th overall by the then-Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Murphy – who played his junior hockey for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL – first made his debut with the club in the 2013-14 season, which he split between the NHL and the AHL. He then made the jump to the NHL club full-time during his 2014-15 season, and moved up to playing heavier minutes during this most recent campaign.
Although his numbers were admittedly subpar in terms of scoring and possession, though, the 23-year-old defenseman managed to have a better second half of his year when playing heavier minutes alongside top-pairing defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. If he’s able to continue improving his play into a bona fide top four pairing player, the deal – which clocks in at under $4 million per season until Murphy will be well into his prime – should be a financial coup for the club before long.
With this deal signed, the Coyotes are down to just two restricted free agents left to ink. Forward Tobias Rieder and fellow defenseman Michael Stone, who has filed for salary arbitration, are both still without deals.