Wednesday, June 8, 2011
His elite skating abilities allowed him to create both his own chances, and coupled with his vision and passing abilities, for his team mates as well.
Through the half way point, just a touch over 40% of Kitchener's offense went through Murphy. A leg injury slowed him down later in the season, but if you watched him in the top prospects game, you wouldn't believe he was suffering through one.
Murphy would finish second on the team in scoring with 26 goals and 53 assists for 79 points in 63 games. He missed 5 games with a concussion.
There were great expectations from Murphy going into the playoffs and along with fellow draft eligible Gabriel Landeskog, were expected to lead the team. But a first round upset to the Plymouth Whalers ended the Rangers season prematurely. Murphy however, bested Landeskog for the team scoring lead in the playoffs with 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points in just 7 games.
While some of the other major players in the draft were still fighting in the playoffs, Murphy wasn't forgotten as he was setting records for Team Canada at the World Under 18 Championships in Germany.
While Canada finished a disappointing fourth, there is no doubt that Murphy was the heart and soul and offensive catalyst of the squad.
While a disappointing playoff may have dampened Murphy's position just a little, the opportunity to play for Team Canada put him right in the thick of things once again.
Hard to say where Murphy ends up going in the draft, could be 8th or 9th and only because of questions about his size and maybe the concussion history now. But when it comes to pure skating there is no one comparable in the draft class. And he certainly ranks near or at the top in pure talent.