The news of the Douglas Murray trade reached me just as the San Jose-Anaheim game was starting. As a left-coaster, and part-time San Jose Sharks fan, here are some observations of his game and what he'll bring to the Penguins. I think it's a great move for the Pens.
Remember the Hal Gill deal? When Shero made that move, I said Gill would be in charge of "beatdowns" and "clearing all them buggers from out of the crease." That's a large part of what the Pens got in Murray.
Between Murray and Orpik, the Penguins now have two of the most formidable physical defensemen in the East. They play the kind of body checking game that gives them reputations that precede them among opponents. Murray may not be as skilled as Orpik, but from my perspective, he's more consistently physical, and has a tremendous presence. He's just damned scary. He's huge. Never mind "dark alleys": you don't want to meet Doug Murray in a very wide green pastoral expanse of parkland in broad daylight, with birds merrily singing away. I have enjoyed the hell out of watching him play as a Shark, because he has an edgy quality to his game -- not quite unpredictable. He's better hitting against the boards, but will sometimes make an open-ice hit to rival Orpik.
He led the Sharks in shot blocks with 64, kills penalties well, and is almost never one of those players you are concerned about seeing on the ice in the last three minutes with a one-goal lead, or with a one-goal deficit.
He does skate a little like Hal Gill. He takes a few bad penalties. He has a bit more offensive talent than Gill or Orpik, a heavy point shot.
This is a good move.