HELSINKI, Finland — Ryan Murray will have a chance to Raise his NHL Draft stock just a bit more.
The 18-year-old defenseman was added to the Team Canada roster on Friday, replacing the injured Marc Methot, and will likely play in Friday's tournament-opening game against Slovakia. It is exceedingly rare that a Draft prospect gets the opportunity to play in the IIHF World Championship, particularly fora country as loaded with talent as Canada.
But, a last-minute injury to Methot, as well as an earlier knee injury suffered by P.K. Subban, has opened the door for Murray, who made the trip with Team Canada to merely serve as an extra player in practice and play in a few exhibition games.
Canada GM Kevin Lowe, who is also the GM of the Edmonton Oilers, is on the hunt for two experienced NHL defenseman to bring to Helsinki; but, for now, he will roll the dice with Murray, allowing the teen to play meaningful minutes on the World Championship stage. The last two Canada players to play in the Worlds before making their NHL debut were Jonathan Toews in 2007 and Jordan Eberle two years ago. Both, though, had already been drafted.
Murray is the No. 2 prospect -- behind Russian forward Nail Yakupov -- in the final rankings released by NHL Central Scouting last month.
But, Lowe's Oilers have the No. 1 pick for the third year in a row and are reportedly in the market for a top-end defenseman after taking forwards at No. 1 In each of the past two drafts. So, this could turn into a very important audition for Murray, who has already represented Canada in the U-18 and World Junior Championship this season.