Connor Murphy gets paid and gets term.The Arizona Coyotes announced this morning that they have signed Connor Murphy to a six-year contract. The deal ties Murphy with Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Mike Smith for the longest contract on the books, though Murphy's deal will run until 2022.
Though the team did not disclose the dollar amounts involved, Arizona Sports' Craig Morgan reports that the deal will carry an average annual value of $3.85 million per season. That figure is below the AAV of Alex Goligoski and OEL's contracts.
Connor Murphy finished with six goals and eleven assists in 78 appearances. After the season ended, he scored three times and assisted twice in Team USA's 4th place finish at the 2016 IIHF World Championships.
At 23 years old, Murphy is entering the most productive years of his career. After receiving a series of healthy scratches midway through the year, after which he came back with stronger play in both ends of the ice. By the end of the season, he established himself as the most natural partner for Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Murphy is the first of three major restricted free-agents to come to terms with the Coyotes. Fellow right-handed defenseman Michael Stone inches closer to arbitration next week, while RFA forward Tobias Rieder has suggested that he may possibly play in Europe next season if the Coyotes do not pay him what he believes he's worth.
Whether the Murphy signing leads to movement on the other two restricted free agents, the Coyotes came away with a long-term deal that could very easily look like a complete steal in the next two or three years. The Coyotes will now skate Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Goligoski, and Connor Murphy in their top-four until at least 2019. If the Coyotes can find a second right-handed defenseman to bolster the team's scoring attack, Arizona's defensive corps should be in excellent shape as their forwards enter the prime of their careers.