NHL Draft Prospect Profile #3: Ryan Murray

Edit Drafted Number 2 overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Today we profile the best defenceman in this draft class and the Number 3 overall prospect, Ryan Murray of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips.

Born Sep 27 1993 — White City, SASK
Height 6.01 — Weight 195 — Shoots L

2008-09 Everett Silvertips WHL 5 0 1 1 2
2009-10 Everett Silvertips WHL 52 5 22 27 31 33 7 2 5 7 2
2010-11 Everett Silvertips WHL 70 6 40 46 45 18 4 1 2 3 4
2011-12 Everett Silvertips WHL 46 9 22 31 31 4 3 2 5 0

Murray is a superb skating two-way defenceman with a ton of positives to his game.  He’s a really smart defender and his potential is to be a future top pairing shutdown guy in the NHL.  He clears the zone quickly with a smart first pass, and his excellent skating.  Murray’s skating is so fast, fluid and polished that he’s already drawn comparisons to a future Hall of Famer in Scott Niedermayer.  He has the ability, size, physicality, and willingness to handle big physical forwards and play against strong forwards. Murray also has extremely good hockey sense and seems to always make smart decisions with the puck.  He is also a natural-born leader and is seen as future NHL captain material.  Murray is also one of the oldest players in this draft as his September 1993 birthday means he will be 19 before the next NHL season starts.  This added maturity is a big reason why Murray is quite simply the most NHL ready of the defencemen in the 2012 draft class and is expected to compete for an NHL spot as early as next season.

Some have however questioned Murray’s offensive upside as he doesn’t put up the huge offensive numbers of a Morgan Reilly or Matt Dumba.  However one must remember that Murray is playing on one of the weakest offensive clubs in the WHL in the Everett Silvertips.  It is very difficult for a defenceman like him to get points when his team’s forwards don’t score.  That said, he’s an excellent skater, who can join the rush, makes pinpoint passes, and has a good hard shot.  It’s easy to see where he’ll be able to translate those tools into successful offensive weapons when playing with better players at the next level.  Murray showed his offensive potential at the 2011 IIHF U18 World Championships where he set the record for points by a defenceman in the tournament with 13 in just 7 games.  Murray definitely has the potential to develop into a pp quarterback.

Murray can be classified as an extremely “safe” pick as he will almost assuredly be an NHL player.  However the sky is also the limit on this kid’s ceiling which is why we expect he’ll be a high draft pick in Pittsburgh on June 22, 2012.  Murray could become the 25 minute per game #1 defenceman that a team will use in all situations, bringing both offence and defence to the table in the NHL.  We’d compare Murray’s potential to Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators.

…and that is the last word.