Fantasy Hockey Impact- Top New Entry Level Contracts Signings Part III
by, 05-28-2012 at 12:13 (2470 Views)
7) Ryan Murphy - CAR - Once former Kitchener Ranger captain, Gabriel Landeskog made the jump the NHL, a big part of the team's offense fell even more to Murphy. It is a slightly atypical expectation since Murphy is a defender but, it is also a testament to how much offensive potential he possesses. In the end his point totals did take a step back, but considering the changes in Kitchener, it was still a pretty solid season for Murphy.
It is a great sign for any one invested in his future that the Carolina Hurricanes signed him to an ELC since their organization has a stockpile of good defensive prospects. Some of Carolina's highly-touted defense prospects are already playing considerable NHL minutes. The question of how Murphy fits in to the mix could keep him from having an immediate opportunity, especially since Justin Faulk has been eating up big minutes already.
His offensive potential is unquestionably his greatest asset. Carolina needs offense from wherever they can get it these days and Murphy could burst on to the scene next year. There is a slim chance that he turns into a Marc-Andre Bergeron, blessed with great ability but a streaky producer with regular defensive lapses. It is a possibility that it could happen especially to someone with Murphy's skill set. However, he has developed a better defensive game that while it is still not perfect may be better than many believe. He also has been solidly on the plus side of plus/minus ratings by the end of most of his OHL seasons including the last two.
There is a decent chance that Murphy makes the Hurricanes roster and if he does, he will be pushed by other talented young defenders to keep producing. If he can't keep up, he'll still be able to grow a good amount being a lower pairing defensive power play specialist or a big minute AHL defender. The future likely will remain bright for him either way.
8) Morgan Ellis - MTL - A huge riser during this past season, the trade of Ellis from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to the Shawinigan Cataractes was one of the big moves that put the Cataractes over the top, leading to a Memorial Cup championship.
Personally for Ellis it was also a major change in his mentality, when he came to Shawinigan he was mostly thought of as a defensive defender that could chip-in offensively occasionally. However he ended up producing well over a point per game for Shawinigan during the regular season and playing a major role along side his defensive partner, Brandon Gormley during their playoff run.
Ellis is a solid two-way defender at this point in his development. After signing an ELC with the Montreal Canadiens, if Ellis wins a spot with the big club there is another chance for him to beat those originally expectations that he was pegged with for much of his career.
Outside of P.K. Subban, the Canadiens do not have many high-end defensive prospects on their current roster. Raphael Diaz, Josh Gorges and Yannick Weber have all had their moments but none factor to have top pairing potential at this point. Super-prospect, Nathan Beaulieu should likely push Ellis at some point along the blue line depth charts but there should be plenty of space for both even with Subban.
After moving to Shawinigan, Ellis is a promising prospect with situational opportunities that truly give him a strong possibility to turn into a major part of the Canadiens defensive corps at some point in his career.
9) Drew Shore - FLA - After posting college career bests in points as a star junior forward for the University of Denver, Drew Shore signed an ELC with the Florida Panthers. Even though his Denver Pioneers team finished well short of an NCAA title, Shore was their most consistent forward most of the season. His AHL experience with the San Antonio Rampage will help him going into training camp this upcoming season.
Shore is likely destined to spend at least a year of seasoning in the AHL but, long term his potential to be a significant contributor at the NHL level is quite good. Shore is a big body that is hard to move off the puck but he also has good speed. Shore can contribute as both a goal scorer and as a passing player maker. His vision and overall skill level is also quite impressive.
He will have to beat out Jonathan Huberdeau for the second center spot behind Stephen Weiss which is unlikely to be the case long term since Huberdeau is one of the most talented prospects in the world. However should Stephen Weiss leave the Florida Panthers one way or another or, if Huberdeau plays left wing at the NHL level than Shore could get that second line center spot. He may have the edge on Huberdeau short term being older with more experience against older and stronger competition. If he does get that short term opportunity, he has the ability to make it very hard for the Panthers to put him on a lower line.
Shore's game has developed quite nicely and as he adapts to playing against pros he could be a high quality second line center on any team.