No, not the creator of Glee. Ryan Murphy, Kitchener Rangers defenseman, is one of the best puck moving defensemen in this draft. Winnipeg has Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian to run the show on the power play (with varying levels of success, mind you) but even if you don’t count offensive defenseman as a need for the club, I tend to favor drafting the best player available over drafting for need, so Murphy warrants a look.
Murphy is ranked 8th in TSN’s final rankings, 9th in Central Scouting and 8th in International Scouting. Murphy is one of the best skaters in the draft, with both good burst and good top end speed, as well as excellent turning. He is a great passer from the back end and sees the ice very well. His shot also makes him perfect to run the point on a power play.
Defensively, Murphy’s size (5’11″, 176 lbs) hinders him a bit from playing a phsyical game, and he also has a tendency to not worry as much about that end of the ice, sacrificing some defense for offense if you will. Still, he is active with his stick and makes good decisions. That plus the improvement he has had defensively means he won’t be a liability at that end of the ice.
Murphy set a Hockey Canada record with 13 points at the U-18 championships, and was named the top defenseman in the tournament. TSN calls him one of the most offensively talented prospects in the last 10 years, and has compared him to Paul Coffey and Phil Housley.
If Murphy gets to Winnipeg at 7, they will have to think long and hard about taking the possibly most talented player in the draft.