Each draft class needs someone to be the polarizing prospect.
The Kitchener Rangers' Ryan Murphy might be that guy, since doubting Thomases often wonder whenever a defenceman appears among the scoring leaders.
He has a whole season to show he can play some D. At 5-foot-11 and 176 pounds, the playmaking defenceman is averaging two points per night (18 in nine games) for a Kitchener Rangers outfit operating without leading scorers Jeremy Morin and Jeff Skinner, each early exits for the AHL and NHL. It's stamped in many fans' brains that last spring Don Cherry touted Murphy as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. Some believe he rates a look from Hockey Canada for the world junior championship, the way Windsor Spitfires captain Ryan Ellis did in his age-17 season, 2008-09.
At the same time, Murphy was a controversial cut from Canada's summer under-18 team two months ago. Believe that the potential top 10 pick knows that has to be addressed between now and June.
"I really don't like hearing that I am a liability because in my own eyes, I do not see myself as a defensive liability," he says. "My coaches, [Kitchener assistants] Troy Smith and Paul Fixter, have taught me a lot about defensive play and I don't think it's one of my faults anymore."
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