Despite lacking a lot of depth and talent, the Carolina Hurricanes organization has top-end prospects in the pipeline, including the offensively talented defenseman Ryan Murphy, and a potential rising offensive star in Victor Rask. There are also several good depth defensemen who, in the near future, could solidify the Carolina blue line.
1. (1) Ryan Murphy, D, 8.0C
Drafted 1st round, 12th overall, 2011
Over the last eight months, Ryan Murphy played hockey for four different teams in two hemispheres at four levels of competition. Murphy captained the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL, and collected 49 points through 54 regular season games. He helped lead the Rangers to the Western Conference Semi-Finals, where they fell in five games to the eventual Western Conference champion London Knights. Murphy also played for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia, but his trip there also ended in disappointment after Canada lost to the US in the semi-finals and failed to win a medal. In late February, Murphy got his first chance to play in the NHL, and saw four games of scoreless action before his emergency call up ended. After his OHL season, he joined the Charlotte Checkers in the AHL where he scored four points in eight games.
Murphy is a gifted offensive defenseman, with great vision and the passing ability to get the puck to open players. The former first-round pick lacks size and still needs extensive development of his defensive skills, but when the puck is on his stick, he makes things happen. Although he seems destined to be a powerplay specialist at the NHL level, if he can acquire the patience and determination to play a solid game in his own end, he could become a valuable top-four defenseman.