Thursday

Murray Baron

Prince George, British Columbia's Murray Baron played in 988 NHL regular season games, plus another 73 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. That number surprised me a bit. I got to watch him night in and night out when he played 5 seasons in Vancouver. He was generally a type of defenseman who never really noticed out there.

That's not necessarily a bad thing for a defensive, depth defender. He was intelligent enough to play within his limitations, which meant he rarely contributed much to the offense. He made high percentages outs and showed very little creativity with the puck. About the extent of his offensive game was a meager shot from the point.

For a player of Baron's healthy size (6'3" 210lbs), he was not overly spectacular on the defensive side either. He never really established any physical presence on the ice, preferring to rub players out than crush them. He rarely exhibited much authority in front of his own net either. But he was big and strong, and quietly matured into an efficient depth defender, but nothing more.

"Bear" was a product of the University of North Dakota, where he and goalie Ed Belfour won a NCAA championship in 1987. The Philadelphia Flyers had drafted Baron the year prior, gambling an 8th round pick (167th overall).

Baron left UND in 1988 and turned pro. For the next two years he played in the Flyers organization, slowly earning himself a regular NHL pay check.

The St. Louis Blues were so impressed that they insisted Baron be part of the Dan Quinn for Rod Brind'Amour trade. Baron did go on to serve the St. Louis blue line faithfully for more than 5 seasons, but the Blues sure would have liked to have that trade back.

After short stops in Montreal and Phoenix, Baron returned home to British Columbia in 1998. The Canucks, then not a very good team, relied on his veteran presence in helping out youngsters like Mattias Ohlund, Adrian Aucoin, and Ed Jovanovski.

Baron returned to St. Louis in 2003-04 for one final NHL season.

All told Murray Baron scored 35 goals and 94 assists for 129 points in 988 regular season games as an unspectacular but dependable depth defender.

1 comments:

Flyersman,  1:48 PM  

I remember Baron when he started with the Flyers. I always like defenseman best and I was impressed. I told my friends he was going to turn into a solid D-man. After he left I didn't follow his career. But seeing now that he played in 988 games, that is impressive for a defenseman to last that long. I guess I was right!

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