Home Talk 2 Us Instagram
2011 NHL Draft

Murphy Wants To Be Known As All-Round Defenseman

Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 1:20 PM / 2011 NHL Draft
NHL.com
In order to view this page you need JavaScript and Flash Player 9+ support!
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Staff Writer

Anyone who watches Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ryan Murphy can see a supremely gifted skater and offensive talent.

"Ryan's work on the power play is outstanding," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards told NHL.com. "He sees the ice very well and is creative, [has] excellent passing ability and a great shot that he gets through to the net. (He's) also an excellent all-round skater."

"He's got some of the most skill I've ever seen," Ottawa 67s forward Shane Prince, another top prospect for the 2011 Entry Draft, told NHL.com. "He's a great skater, great offensive defenseman. His puckhandling ability and ability to rush the puck is high end and it's tough to play against when he's out there."

Murphy's 79 points (26 goals) in 63 games helped him finish second among all Ontario Hockey League defensemen behind only Nashville first-round Ryan Ellis and his 101 points (24 goals).

His efforts earned the 5-foot-10 1/2, 166-pound blueliner the No. 9 spot (third among defensemen) in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2011 Entry Draft.

While the offensive numbers jump off the page, Murphy would rather not have the "offensive defenseman" label affixed to him.

"I don't like it that much because I like to see myself as a two-way defenseman who can play in my own zone," he told NHL.com.

While it isn't easy, defensive-zone play has been a major emphasis for Murphy this season.

"To his credit he's worked at the defensive part of it," Rangers assistant coach Paul Fixter, who primarily works with the team's defenseman, told NHL.com. "At the end of last season, when we played Windsor in the conference finals, Ryan was out against the top players in the country, playing in our top four. He was contributing offensively but he was in a shut-down position -- and he's only built on that. Give him credit at working at what some people perceived as holes in his game. He's certainly proven those doubters wrong. He's proven to us that he's capable of playing against top players and not just being strong on the power play but being strong in his own end."

2011 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
John Gibson

Gibson Combines Size, Athleticism

Mike G Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer
It's probably a good thing Jack and Sue Gibson recognized the shot blocker in their son at a young age.
READ MORE ›

FINAL RANKINGS:
NORTH AMERICAN: Skaters | Goalies
INTERNATIONAL: Skaters | Goalies

FEATURED STORIES:
2011 NHL Draft Profile: Sean Couturier
Draft Memories: Scott Clemmensen
Jurco More Than A Puck Magician

DRAFT CENTRAL:
PANTHERS DRAFT CENTRAL
NHL DRAFT CENTRAL
Added Murphy: "We work on defensive-zone coverage pretty much every practice with our coaches, and I just give it all I've got in practice."

The numbers show how Murphy has improved -- and lifted his team's defensive play as well. He was a minus-3 in 62 games with the Rangers last season. This season, he finished a plus-22.

Murphy credits Fixter, who has a pair of Stanley Cup rings from his days on the Colorado Avalanche staff, with helping him improve his game.

"He always tells me just to play it simple," Murphy said. "Sometimes I over-think it, and his main thing is you don't have as much time as you want but more than you think."

Fixter said having a willing pupil makes him a better teacher.

"He's a great student," Fixter said. "He's very attentive. He's like a sponge, he absorbs everything. Are there times he falls back into his old ways? Certainly, but he's receptive."

All the speed that Murphy usually unleashes when he has the puck is being used to improve his defensive game.

"He's not an easy guy to get around because he's so quick and he's got a good stick," Niagara IceDogs forward Ryan Strome, No. 8 on Central Scouting's list, told NHL.com. "And then when he takes the puck you know what he can do."

Added Kitchener head coach Steve Spott: "His hockey sense allows him to make good decisions and he doesn't get caught up ice very often, like a Paul Coffey -- he's able to get back and use his speed to defend, so as good as he is offensively, he's a little underrated defensively."

While his offensive game is outstanding, Murphy said he's also learning and getting better there as well. While leading the rush and going end-to-end can look pretty -- like the one he pulled out during the 2011 Top Prospects Game -- he's learning he can't force those situations.

Fixter sees that part of Murphy's game growing by the day, as well, and cited a game during the season where the Rangers had a big lead, but injuries and penalties had left the team with just three defensemen for a period of time. Murphy knew to stay back and conserve his energy, because jumping into the offensive zone at that time wasn't needed.

"It's managing the game, managing the clock, managing what transpires in the game," Fixter said. "If we're down we need him to go, if we're up be smart. It's those decisions that as you move along you have to get better at. When you're at minor hockey it's just go. Now he's really learning all aspects of the game. He's a good student who wants to be the best. He's made great strides in his two years playing at this level. He's just so easy to work with because he's easy to be around, always has a smile, and pushes himself to get better each day."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com
UPCOMING EVENTS

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
OUR PARTNERS

 

FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2014 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.