GLENDALE - Connor Murphy
’s recent decision to bypass a collegiate career and sign with a Major Junior team was based primarily on his desire to play in as many games as possible in 2011-12.
|Connor Murphy (center) with G.M. Don Maloney and Assistant G.M. Brad Treliving. Photo by Getty Images. |
Murphy, who had originally planned to attend Miami University, changed his mind and signed with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League last month - and then with the Coyotes last week. Phoenix selected the 18-year-old defenseman with the 20th overall pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Murphy will attend the Coyotes’ rookie training camp in early September and then head to Sarnia.
“I missed a lot of time over the past two years with a back injury and now that it’s healed I want to try and develop as much as I can as soon as I can,” Murphy told me on Tuesday. “I really believe playing in Sarnia will give me the best chance to make it to the Coyotes sometime soon.”
Miami University played 39 games last season. By comparison, Sarnia played 68 games in 2010-11.
“Playing more games was by far the biggest factor in my decision, which wasn’t an easy one because I really, really have loved and do love Miami,” Murphy said. “My brother goes there, and I’ve gotten to know some of the players and coaches really well and it’s a school I will definitely still follow. It’s just a decision based on hockey.”
Murphy is in Lake Placid, N.Y., this week taking part in Team USA’s National Junior Evaluation Camp. Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney is there monitoring his performance.
|Connor Murphy moves the puck up the ice during the 2011 Coyotes Prospects Development Camp. Photo by Norm Hall. |
“Being able to represent your country any time you can is a pleasure,” Murphy said. “And to be able to do this in the summer and be involved in some high-pressure competitions and games is really fun, and I’m enjoying it. There are a lot of high-caliber players here and it has really helped me improve and will help me transition into (Phoenix’s) rookie camp later this summer.”
Playing for Team USA in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Calgary is a goal on Murphy’s list.
“I’ve watched that tournament for years and have always wanted to be a part of it,” Murphy said. “It’s such a huge stage, especially this year in Calgary with all of the Canadian fans up there. There are so many great players in that tournament and so much hype. I think it’s a goal for a lot of kids. Now I’m finally getting my chance to try out for it and I’m just laying everything out on the line for it."
Murphy isn't the only Coyotes prospect who is attending a camp for the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. Forward Phil Lane also was invited to USA's camp, while defenseman Brandon Gormley
, forward Lucas Lessio
and goalies Mark Visentin
and Louis Domingue
are attending a similar camp for Team Canada. EDITOR'S NOTE:
Reach Dave Vest at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.