All 30 teams in the NHL view the NHL draft the same way. The idea is to draft a player that can be groomed, within a team’s particular system, into an effective NHL player. It is very rare that a player has the mental and physical skill to go straight from minor or collegiate play to the NHL the same year they are drafted. Over the next few weeks we’re going to take a look at some of the players that the Canes are grooming. Whether they are playing in one of the Canadian Hockey Leagues, collegiately, or in the American Hockey League, the future of the franchise depends a lot on the prospects that are in the system.
The player who is currently leading the way as far as Canes’ prospects is defenseman Ryan Murphy. Murphy was drafted in the first round, 12th overall, by the Hurricanes in 2011. He shows the ability to be a great puck moving offensive defenseman. What he lacks in size and defensive ability he makes up for in speed and scoring ability. Murphy is a product of the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League who was taken 3rd overall in the 2009 OHL draft. Throughout his junior career he established himself as a scoring threat and a leader as he captained the Rangers during their 2012 campaign.
As a 16 year old rookie in the OHL, Murphy accounted for 6 goals and 33 assists in 62 games. He broke out as an outstanding scoring defenseman in his second season with Kitchener in which he amassed 26 goals and 63 assists for 79 points in 62 games. He made the Hurricane’s NHL roster his first year with the team but was reassigned to Kitchener for another year less than two weeks later. After being reassigned to his junior team for the 2011-2012 season, and after sustaining a severe concussion, Murphy finished the year with 11 goals and 43 assists for 54 points in 49 games.
Going into the 2012-2013 NHL season, Murphy was expected to make a strong push for a roster spot with the Hurricanes. Again, he fell just short. He was reassigned to play out another season with the Kitchener Rangers in which he recorded 6 goals and 33 assists for 39 points in 62 games. During the Hurricane’s 2012-2013 season, the team’s blue line was ravaged by injuries causing the young defenseman to be recalled from Kitchener on an emergency basis. He made his NHL debut while playing in four games for the Canes and had a plus/minus rating of minus 4 with 7 shots before being returned to Kitchener. Murphy was also a member of the Canadian under 18 team at the 2011 World Championships and a member of the Canadian under 20 team at the 2013 World Championships.
After the Kitchener Rangers were eliminated from the 2012-2013 OHL playoffs, Murphy joined the Hurricane’s AHL affiliate the Charlotte Checkers and appeared in three regular season games as well as all five of the Checker’s playoff games. During that span he recorded 4 assists with a plus 2 plus/minus rating. He also showed flashes of the great speed and ability to jump in on the offensive rush during those eight games. Ryan Murphy is expected to once again make a strong push for a NHL roster spot with the Canes in the upcoming campaign; if he can live up to his potential, the Hurricanes will have a scoring threat on the blue line for years to come.