Despite being traded from San Jose six years ago, Brad Stuart’s heart – and more importantly, his family – remained in the Bay Area.
Stuart’s career as a reliable shutdown, second pairing defenseman took him from San Jose to Boston, then Calgary before signing a free agent contract to return to Los Angeles in 2007. A trade deadline deal to Detroit in 2008 made him a Stanley Cup champion, and that summer he signed a four year deal to stay in the Motor City. But the last few years have been tough on the Red Wings workhorse, despite the team doing everything they could to accommodate him.
Stuart was granted time off between games to fly out to visit his family, who reportedly cannot move from the state of California due to his wife’s custody agreement with the father of her children.
Today, the Wings agreed to deal the rights to the pending unrestricted free agent to San Jose for what amounts to a thank you note.
Andrew Murray, a 30-year-old forward, has split time throughout his career in the American league and the NHL. He’s a big boy who will get in and lay the body, but it doesn’t seem like the Wings have a place for him in their lineup. At best he would be in a competition with Emmerton/Mursak/etc. for fourth line minutes, and he himself will become an unrestricted free agent. Maybe the Wings like his experience enough to sign him and stick him with the pups in Grand Rapids, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he hit the market on July 1 to look for a team that would offer him an NHL position.
The Wings also receive a conditional 2014 7th round pick, the conditions of which being that San Jose signs Stuart to a contract. You would have to think that with Stuart being 100% set on returning home and the Sharks being interested enough to trade for him, a deal will come to fruition in the next few days.
Adios Brad. Thank you for helping to form one of the most feared second pairings in the NHL for the last four years. Good luck back in the teal and silver, except when you play Detroit.