Stan Bowman has seen a lot of Connor Murphy during his time with USA Hockey. Now, Bowman will watch a lot more of him in Chicago.
Murphy, 24, who went to the Blackhawks with Laurent Dauphin from Arizona for Niklas Hjalmarsson, will be expected to shoulder a heavy load on the blue line. Last season, he had two goals and 15 assists in 77 games and was forced into challenging circumstances playing for one of the league’s worst teams.
Now with the Hawks, Murphy will play his defense-first style.
“I’m pretty tall, so I feel like I can cover some ice that way,” said the 6-foot-3 Murphy. “I’ve worked on my mobility a little more and trying to be more of a mobile, good-skating (defenseman). So I try to help out by moving the puck up and playing a simple and good defending game.”
Murphy has played for Team USA at the last four World Championships, and was the captain of this year’s squad.
“He has a lot of character, leadership,” said Bowman, who has been active in the USA program. “He’s very articulate and a very engaging person. His hockey game, is something we don’t have a lot of like him.”
The Hawks might have found Corey Crawford’s backup.
Acquired as part of the deal with Columbus, Anton Forsberg is 1-8-0 lifetime and has a 4.02 goals-against average in 10 career games. But Bowman is high on Forsberg, who helped lead the Lake Erie Monsters to the 2016 AHL championship.
“I think we’ve obviously got a tremendous number-one goalie in Crawford, and Corey’s going to have the lion’s share of the work,” Bowman said, “but I think it’s time for Anton to get a chance to be that number two and have a great tandem moving forward.”
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