6. RD Ryan Murphy – Kitchener (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 31/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 5.10 | Weight: 165lbs
Midterm Rank: 6 | League Rank: 2nd OHL | Country Rank: 4th Canada
Ryan Murphy is an interesting prospect moving into the NHL Entry Draft. The sophomore defenseman had critics raving about him, scoring 51 points in just 33 games to start the season. Murphy was originally drafted 3rd overall to the Kitchener Rangers in the 2009 State Farm OHL Priority Selection, only behind Daniel Catenacci of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Kingston’s draft pick Alan Quine, now playing with the Peterborough Petes. The Aurora native has always been prone to racking up a surreal amount of points from the blue line as he scored 95 points in 33 games in his OHL Draft Year with the York Simcoe Express.
After his rookie year, where he scored 39 points, he garnered enough attention from Hockey Canada, as they offered an invite to their 2010 World Junior Team Summer training camp. Coming into the 2010-11 season, Murphy was going to be heavily relied on with an increased role with the Kitchener Rangers, and he ran with his opportunity. With increased playing time and quarterbacking the first power play, Murphy was able to increase his point totals by 40 tallying 26 goals and 79 points in 63 OHL games.
Murphy excels at being an offensive defenseman; it is what he is known for, producing points. Murphy has to be considered one of the most fluent skaters in this year’s draft crop and he knows how to use it to his advantage. He has the ability to read the ice superbly off the rush, and can either make the break out pass or use his elite speed to begin an end to end rush. This makes him a real threat on the power play as he utilizes open ice perhaps better than anyone else in the draft. His ability to read the ice allows him to be a great power play quarterback. Once in the offensive zone, Murphy is just as effective. He is able to set the play up, or use his shot, which may not be the hardest in the league, but is definitely accurate, which is just as deadly. It is no question that Murphy will be categorized as an offensive defenseman at the next level.
It is hard to find flaws in Murphy’s game, especially when he is controlling the game with his skating and overall offensive prowess. I suppose the most the most noticeable trait when analyzing Murphy, his is overall size; he is considered undersized by NHL standards. Currently standing at 5.10, 165 lbs, even if he grows a couple inches, he has a lot of muscle that he needs to put on before competing at the NHL level. Also his defensive coverage, although improving, could stand for quite a bit more work and would have to be considered average at the moment. He is beginning to use his body a little bit more to win positioning battles, but still has a long way to go.
Overall, Murphy has cemented himself as a blue-chip prospect with any NHL franchise. He is a future top pairing defenseman with the potential to be a power play quarterback. It is likely that Murphy finds himself on Team Canada’s WJC team this winter in Alberta and big things will be expected of the 18 year old. Murphy’s overall offensive ability compensates for the few flaw that he does have. These flaws should not be enough to deter NHL teams away in Minnesota for this season’s draft and should hear his name called sooner rather than later.
Pros: Skating, offensive prowess, ability to read the play
Cons: Defensive game, undersized
Skill-set Comparison: Dan Boyle