Defending Big D begins our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2011 Entry Draft. Today an offensively gifted d-man from Canada...
Team: Kitchener - OHL
Born: March 31, 1993
Weight: 166 pounds
NHL Central Scouting: 9th among North American skaters
International Scouting Services: 8th overall
The Hockey News: 7th overall
Why the Stars would take him:
Admittedly young Mr. Murphy is slated to go a little higher than the Stars #14 selection but after last year's early drama with defensemen falling we're not going to get caught off guard again.
He led all OHL defensemen last year with a staggering 79 points in 63 games and is called "offensively gifted" by nearly every scouting service and expert out there. He can skate, he can quarterback a power play, and he's got a great shot that he can get through traffic on net. Could he be the Stars' power play quarterback of the future if taken?
You can't teach skill, and this guy's got a whole bunch of it by all accounts, which is why he probably* won't get to #14.
Why they would pass:
As glowing as the reviews are about his offense, his defense is said to have some pretty major gaps and his decision making has been called into question. Defense is still thought of by the fan base as a need but when you look at his profile you can't help but think of Alex Goligoski and Philip Larsen as slightly smaller guys with offensive skills that have some work to do shoring up things in their own end.
How many of those kinds of guys does one team need? He's 5'10" and at 18 years of age could still grow a little bit but will not be the big towering defensive presence Stars fans have been craving. Nevertheless, as I already mentioned, you can't teach skill. If you acquire as much skill as possible you can trade it for what you want.
What they're saying:
"Ryan's work on the power play is outstanding, He sees the ice very well and is creative, [has] excellent passing ability and a great shot that he gets through to the net. (He's) also an excellent all-round skater. He's got real good mobility. He's a bit of a gambler. He does move the puck well, but he's going to have to concentrate on making good plays." -NHL Central Scouting
Ryan Murphy 2 goal vs Guelph (2010-09-26) (via nhldraftvideo)