Ryan Murphy is an unforgettable presence on the ice. His speed, quickness, and ability to handle the puck set him aside from the other rookies and many other defenseman in the league. In 2011, the Hurricanes drafted Murphy 12th overall and he seems like quite a catch so far. Although his first official NHL season began this October, it’s not the first time Murphy saw NHL ice time.
On February 21 of this year Murphy played his first game in a Hurricanes jersey. In the second game of this season on October 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers, Murphy recorded his first NHL point with an assist on a Jay Harrison goal. Murphy’s first career goal came 11 days later in familiar territory in Toronto as friends and family observed from inside the Air Canada Centre with an assist from former Kitchner Rangers teammate and 2011’s Calder Trophy winner, Jeff Skinner. Murphy has a chance to see plenty of ice time while Joni Pitkanen takes a seat this season due to a broken heel. With a chance to see a sufficient amount of ice time, he could possibly be in the running for the Calder Trophy. It may be tougher for a defenseman to win the Calder, but it’s not impossible.
The last Defenseman to win the Calder Trophy was Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres in 2010. Myers was the first defenseman to win the Calder Trophy since St. Louis’ Barrett Jackman in 2003. Like Murphy, Myers was drafted 12th overall. Murphy currently has 5 points in his 11 games played this season and ranks 14th against his fellow rookies and ranks seventh amongst his teammates in scoring. Myers totaled 48 points in 2010 and was fifth place in scoring amongst his club. Murphy has averaged 18:40 of ice time per game as Myers saw 23:44 in his first season, which was the most ice time out of all rookies in 2010. With plenty of time left in the season, Murphy can still prove he has the credentials to be a Calder winner.
The 20 year old, 5’11" defenseman has proved he belongs in the league whether or not he wins the Calder. Watching Ryan Murphy skate through the neutral zone and makes his way through opposing players is as graceful as watching a gazelle run or one of the hot lifeguard running scenes from Baywatch, whichever is more graceful to you. Murphy has ended the month of October on a high note with one goal, four assists, 18 blocked shots, a positive +1 rating and he has added new depths to the Hurricanes power play. If his game can gradually keep increasing, there might be a defenseman taking home the Calder Trophy and I’m not talking about Seth Jones. By the way, have you seen his slapshot?
Ryan Murphy scores first NHL goal (via NHL)
((Note from the Editor: The author, Matt Krombach, has joined Canes Country as an intern and will be submitting a weekly column.))