A year ago Ryan Murphy was considered one of the Carolina Hurricanes top young prospects.
Fast-forward a year and Murphy, the Hurricanes’ 12th overall selection at the 2011 NHL Draft is still looking to make the leap as a regular NHL defenseman.
Murphy spent 48 games with the big club last season scoring two goals and 12 points to go a long with a minus-9 rating.
The 21-year-old also spent 22 games in the American Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers where he had three goals, 22 points and a plus-7 rating.
As Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer points out, the Hurricanes have big hopes for Murphy targeting the 5-foot-11, 176-pounder as a potential for the team’s first unit power play along side Alexander Semin.
At his introductory press conference, newly appointed head coach Bill Peters said he believes the team’s power play should be better.
“We have enough skill to have a good power play,” he said.
The Hurricanes’ power play was ranked 28th last season at 14.6 percent efficiency.
Murphy is a noted power play specialist and has shown he can produce in the past scoring 48 points in 54 games during his final year in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers.
However, his aforementioned point totals from last season, show there’s significant room for improvement if he’s going to see regular power play minutes.
The expectations are high for Murphy; by comparison teammate Justin Faulk is only a year older at 22, but already has 180 NHL games under his belt. The 2010 second-round pick of the Hurricanes had 32 points in 76 games last season and will likely be on the team’s top pairing alongside Andrej Sekera this season.
One thing working against Murphy is the fact the team already has six defensemen signed to one-way deals.
It might be too early for 2014 first-rounder Haydn Fleury, but for Murphy, the time is now to make the leap.