The Carolina Hurricanes drafted defenseman Ryan Murphy from the OHL Kitchener Rangers with the 12th overall pick.
Even during the NHL draft, prospects still find time to pull out their smart phones to update their Twitter. “Can’t wait to get to Carolina and to meet all the crazy caniac fans,” Murphy tweeted. “Easily the best night of my life.”
In the OHL last season, Murphy scored 26 goals and added 53 assists in 63 games. With 1.25 points per game, you can say he has a knack for finding the stat sheet. Guess what Caniacs? He is good on the power play. It’s nice to see the Hurricanes actually drafting their needs.
Murphy comes from the same team as Jeff Skinner and before Murphy could leave his seat, he had already received a text from Skinner congratulating him on being drafted and that he is looking forward to being his teammate again in Carolina.
Murphy told the media that he is excited to follow Skinner’s footsteps and hopes to make an immediate impact with the Hurricanes. It was only a year ago that Skinner was in Murphy’s shoes waiting to hear his name called.
The 18 year old skater draws comparisons to Nashville Predators franchise player Ryan Ellis because of his offensive style of play at the blue line and his small 5’11″, 176 size. Murphy sure can skate, though. He was named the best skater in the OHL Western Conference, has great vision on the ice, and has excellent puck control when he weaves through defenders like a Nascar driver dodging traffic cones.
The down side to Murphy’s game is that he is very weak in the defensive department for a blue line skater. He has some developing to do before he can make a large impact in Carolina. But he is very close and could even see minutes early next season should the Hurricanes fail to resign their unrestricted free agents. Clearly, he will be an offensive defenseman in the NHL. One dimensional could be good, especially when you look at Murphy’s talent.
“He has to play a different kind of defensive game because of his size,” said Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes’ director of amateur scouting. “It’s tougher for him to go head-to-head with a 6-foot-2, 210-pound winger. He’s not going to muscle him out of there, so he’s got to take a different approach.”
“I don’t like it that much because I like to see myself as a two-way defenseman who can play in my own zone,” Murphy said looking to prove scouts wrong.
He spent the majority of this past season emphasizing playing in the defensive-zone. He wants to be recognized as a two way defender but he has some maturing and growing to do before he can reach that status. However, it is not too far of a stretch as long as Murphy stays focused.
Murphy did win the the tournament’s top defenseman for Team Canada during the World Under-18 Championships. Murphy was projected in most mock drafts to be selected anywhere from 7-10 so Carolina was happy to snatch him off the board with the 12th overall pick.
“I’m going to work hard every day to get better and stronger,” the first rounder said. “Hopefully I’ll be in the lineup next year.”
In case you don’t understand how special last night was for this young man, this was the tweet he sent just a few days ago: “Only one thing left to do before the draft… environmental science exam tmrw, gotta love high school.”
Enjoy high school while you can, kid. Because you are about to be skating with the big boys. Welcome to the Hurricanes organization!
***Watch last night’s draft and analysis of Ryan Murphy