The Carolina Hurricanes don’t lack experience going into the 2013-14 campaign, but there’s a good chance their opening game roster will also feature two noteworthy rookies.
Defenseman Ryan Murphy, 20, got his first taste of NHL action last season with a four-game stint and he made a good impression on Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller while averaging 21:04 minutes per contest.
“I was really pleased with him,” Muller told the NHL.com. “He doesn’t look intimidated at all. … He showed that at times he’s capable of doing things that will keep him in the NHL. Now it’s being consistent.”
Murphy might end up on Carolina’s third defensive pairing and get some power-play ice time. Although he didn’t record a point during his time with the Hurricanes, Murphy can contribute offensively. He finished the 2012-13 campaign with 48 points in 54 OHL contests.
The Hurricanes also have an opening for 18-year-old forward Elias Lindholm after selecting him with the fifth pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Lindholm already has some experience playing among men after scoring 11 goals and 30 points in 48 games in Sweden’s top league.
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford likes Lindholm’s high-tempo game and would be “shocked” if he doesn’t earn a roster spot.
More specifically, Muller sees Lindholm has a candidate to start the season as the team’s third-line center. The Hurricanes bench boss is comfortable with the top two lines, but the third line is a bigger question mark.
Murphy and Lindholm might not play big roles this season, but they are both highly regarded prospects with the potential to eventually establish themselves as important players.