Ryan Murphy finished the 2013-14 season as a rookie that played like a rookie. He made some mistakes, but at other times showed the potential most believe he has.
He spent 48 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and 22 with the Charlotte Checkers. He had 12 points with the Canes and scored at a point-per-game pace in the AHL with 22.
Next season, Murphy will be in the NHL, and barring any major setbacks in training camp or his play, he should not see any time with the Checkers.
But what can Hurricanes fans expect from Murphy?
That’s tough to say. Every player is different and progresses at different rates, but one player that offers a good comparison is Nashville Predator Ryan Ellis.
Murphy was drafted 12th overall in 2012, Ellis 11th overall in 2009. Both are offensive defensemen that played in the OHL, but Ellis recorded higher numbers in juniors.
In Ellis’ first season in 2011-12, he had 11 points in 32 games, close to the amount Murphy had. However, Ellis played on average about four minutes less than Murphy did in his rookie year.
The next year, Ellis split the year between the Predators and their AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. In 32 games, the 23 year old had 14 points, a slight improvement.
Ellis struggled at times in the NHL, but also had the fortune of developing in the AHL with the lockout going on. He was also not counted on as much with Shea Weber, Kevin Klein and Roman Josi all on the Nashville roster.
The time to develop paid off, as Ellis hit 27 points this season in 80 games.
So for Murphy, he won’t spend time in the AHL and will see more ice time, including power-play time because the Hurricanes defense is not as strong as the Predators’ was during the 2012-13 season.
I think it would be fair to expect Ellis-like third season numbers for Murphy next year. With more playing time and in a position to contribute to the offense, 25-30 points shouldn’t be out of the question.