The Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in a perplexing situation regarding their rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy. They can keep him for the season, they can keep him for a nine game "preview" and then return him to the juniors, or they can return him to his junior team before the season starts, (and anytime up to the nine games).
Why would they return him before the season even starts?
The Hurricanes missed the playoffs by a single game last year, (and it's expected to be close again this year,) meaning that every game is vital, including these first nine of the season. Should the team experiment by playing a rookie, to test his worth during this crucial start?
Although some might argue that the team is better with Murphy on the ice. The rookie's stat line this preseason is GP 4, G 0, A 1, P 1, (+/-) 0 and he's been awarded third star of the game in two of the four contests he's played in. There is no doubting his overall skill level, pure speed, and ability to skate. His defensive acumen is underrated because he possesses a quick stick, but his size might be a problem until he gains more experience.
Throwing a monkey wrench into the situation is the fact that the Canes have redundancy at the position. Joni Pitkanen and Tomas Kaberle are similar players and both have just been awarded expensive, three year contracts. Jamie McBain is also in that mix.
In all, the Canes have nine defensemen heading into the season opener and there is no way they will carry that many very far into the season. So, if they decide to keep Murphy, they will need to make room for him. Which then leads to another set of questions, but for now let's focus on the rookie.
Also keep in mind, one more cut needs to be made before opening day. The Canes have 24 on their roster and the most they can keep is 23. If all the forwards are healthy, Riley Nash would seem to be the odd man out, but if a player is still questionable, (Dwyer and LaRose have been fighting injuries this week), they may need to keep Nash, or else play seven defensemen.
What do you think the Canes should do?