DKM Hockey Podcast

Monday, June 25, 2012

Welcome to the AHL Ryan Murray

Welcome to the AHL Ryan Murray.  Well, if I were the GM anyways that's where I'd put him.  Why? Because I don't think he's NHL ready?  No.  It's because I don't think he's ready to be the 5th or 6th defenceman on what's sure to be a repeat performance of the NHL's worst team.

I applaud the Blue Jackets for selecting Ryan Murray.  A few posts ago "My 2012 Draft Recommendation.." touched on how the Blue Jackets needed to pick a kid beyond his years in poise and mental toughness.  I also suggested he score 30 goals, but the point of the post was that the Jackets pick a player that was an out of the box professional, 'wise in his years', and would give us honest but positive interviews.  That kid was Ryan Murray when it came time for the Blow Jackets to draft.

If you truly are a jackets superfan and you're learning hockey along the way, ask yourself this:  who does Ryan Murray play with in 2012-2013?  Your top four defenceman are Wisniewski, Johnson, Tutyin, and Nikitin.  Do you put Murray with Methot or Martinek?  Surely you don't give Nikitin a qualifying offer if you're going to make him a 5th defenseman...  And this brings us to the oft mistaken phrase, "It takes longer for a denfenseman to develop."

You think he'd have a bigger smile. Columbus, OH - Hooray....

This statement is both true and untrue.  It takes longer for a defenseman to physically develop.  You can't be a 6'2" 178 pound defenceman in the NHL.  Wayne Primeau would eat you up.  So yes, you want your defenceman to have their man strength when you have them start skating against men.  This physical maturity typically comes about naturally by age 22 or 23.  Some dude physically transform earlier.

But more to Ryan Murray's case is two points:  1) Defenceman have to make decisions on the ice in an instant.  That is the number one difference between a forward and defencemen.  It is this decision making that takes time to learn.  The first pass makes or break your breakout.  It's the decision by the defenceman that directly influences the start of the breakout, or whether you're lining up at center ice after an opposing team's goal.  I think with 2nd pair ice time, Murray will take less than two years to properly develop that skill set.  I say only two years because he's wise beyond his years.

Secondly Or 2), his development is going to be dependent on his ability to get 18-22 minutes of ice time per game. He doesn't get that being a 5th or 6th (beit a 3rd pair) defenceman skating for the Blue Jackets.  If he's a 3rd pair guy, he'll see 12-16 minutes a game, mostly in the 1st and 2nd period.  If I were GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he'd get an entry level NHL contract and spend his first year in the AHL playing with men and getting 20-25 minutes a game as a 1st or 2nd pair defenseman.  Murray is a smart kid, he needs to see the plays breakdown and develop in order to learn.  He's bright, so he won't need three or four years to learn this, but he will need at least one.

It's also worth nothing that I can't think of a worse thing to do to a teenage stud than make him a third pair defenceman and watch his team suck for 82 games.  I also don't think its good for his confidence to expect him to be a 2nd pair kid on the NHL squad his first year and expect him to contribute 22 minutes a night.  Send the Murray to Springfield for 2012-2013.  Call him up for a couple 4 or 5 game homestands with the intention he's only there for 4 or 5 games to see how he's doing.  He'll be ready to rock in 2013-2014 with 22-25 minutes per game where he can thrive.

Who remembers the highly drafted defenceman the CBJ tried to rush into the NHL??


  1. So you still think Murray isn't ready? Absolute standout.

  2. I do not believe being a 3rd pair defenceman on the worst team in the league is what he needs to develop his game against MEN at age 19. He's a stud and is going to be a long time NHL'er. He can be an impact player on the blue line at 22 if you put him in the right situation this year. The CHL needs to amend their "transfer agreement" for Murray.

  3. he's not eligible to play in the AHL. Its either NHL or junior because of the CHL transfer agreement