During the 2019-20 regular season Connor Murphy was one of the Blackhawks' most dependable defensemen.
Murphy was strong at the blue line, not giving up much defensively, finishing with 128 hits, 138 blocked shots and a +/- rating of +2 ahead of March 12's NHL pause. The Dublin, Ohio native also had a career-high 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) during the regular season.
The 27-year-old blueliner had a solid postseason for the Hawks in Edmonton defensively overall (-1) and kept up his offensive production, grabbing four assists from the Blackhawks' nine games in the tournament.
Murphy reflected on his year with Hawks media over Zoom on Wednesday.
"I felt I was able to take a step forward," the D-man said. "Worked a lot with our coaches and wanted to continue to improve puck play, and that’s something that’s still a work in progress to try and contribute more that way and bring strong defending anytime (I'm) put out, especially against top lines for each game, but definitely grateful to get a good amount of minutes and be able to work on some things and continue to grow.
"It was unfortunate we couldn’t play a full season, but we were lucky to come into the playoffs and continue to grow as well, as individuals and as a team. We still have a good amount of time to improve, and hopefully I’ll keep improving on puck play and strength and conditioning and have a good year next year."
It sounds like just as he was able to elevate his game this year, Connor wants to elevate his role with the team inside the locker room as well.
"As far as next season, I’d like to be more vocal," he said. "I think we have a good group of leaders on the team that make everyone feel a part of it. They want each guy to take a piece of that leadership role and everyone has something to offer that they can make sure, any given night, we have everyone going. That’s definitely something that’s a big part of the team."