The first half of the season had its ups-and-downs for Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy. Some nights he would show the offensive abilities everyone expected from him, while other nights he would make rookie mistakes that caused him to be a healthy scratch the next game.
But since being recalled from the Charlotte Checkers on March 6, Murphy has played his best hockey for the Hurricanes in those four games this season.
We’re seeing more of that offensive presence and the 20-year-old has been a minute-muncher, averaging 22:35 in the four games, including nearly 26 minutes against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
We’ve also seen less mistakes by Murphy over the past week, which has influenced coach Kirk Muller in playing the defenseman more.
I wanted Murphy to remain with the Checkers a couple weeks ago, since I felt that putting the rookie in the surroundings the team was going through would be detrimental to his progress, but things have worked out great.
The time spent with the Checkers seems to have given the Ontario native confidence in what he can do in the offensive zone and it’s paying dividends for the Hurricanes, who have their first two-win streak since the end of January.
I believe the biggest reason for Murphy’s improvement though, is that he is finally being used in the right role by Muller. As a third-pairing defenseman, he was often tasked with playing a more defensive role.
Playing with Sekera has allowed Murphy to play more of a roving game on defense, while the Slovakian defenseman is able to cover and stop any turnovers, which Jay Harrison and Mike Komisarek couldn’t be counted for.
Over the past week, Ryan Murphy has shown what his future may look like, if he’s used in the correct role by the coaching staff. Hopefully for the team, that continues into the next season and further.