On most teams' 2012 NHL Draft boards, Everett Silvertips standout Ryan Murray is the top-ranked defenseman available. With three solid seasons in the Western Hockey League under his belt, the White City, Saskatchewan native plays a solid overall game at both ends of the rink. At a position that usually takes young players a while to learn, Murray’s draft stock is high because he always seems to make the right play. That’s not to say the 18-year-old doesn’t have the skills to match his intellect. Islanders prospect Brenden Kichton has competed against Murray for three years as a member of the Spokane Chiefs, and knows how hard it is to play against him. “Murray is a great skater, sees the ice really well and always makes a pretty good first pass. He can play the penalty kill. He can play the power play. He plays in every situation.”
Murray sat down with NewYorkIslanders.com to talk about the crop of WHL defensemen at the head of this draft class and being the only draft-eligible player named to Team Canada's roster at the 2012 World Junior tournament.
NewYorkIslanders.com: How would you describe your game to somebody who has never seen you play before?
Ryan Murray: I think that I’m a two-way defenseman, trying to take care of my own end first. I try to chip in offensively and jump into the rush whenever I can.
NYI: Your name has moved up and down the draft rankings, and there has even been some speculation that you could go as high as No. 1 overall if Edmonton decides they want a defenseman. So the unfair question is what are you expecting to happen?
RM: Honestly, I’m just trying to keep my mind open to everything. I know anything can happen, and I could go up or down. I’m just trying to go into it with an open mind and stay positive.
Five things to know about Ryan Murray
1. Murray was the Everett Silvertips first-round selection (ninth overall) in the 2008 WHL draft.
2. He was named captain of Team Canada at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, where he tallied ten points in seven games.
3. His favorite number is 27 due to his birthdate, September 27, 1993.
4. He has four siblings (three brothers and one sister), all of whom play hockey.
5. Murray’s favorite NHL team is the Calgary Flames and his favorite movie is Slap Shot.
NYI: There are a lot of good WHL defensemen in this draft class, like Matt Dumba, Morgan Rielly and Griffin Reinhart. What do you think sets you apart?
RM: Yeah, there’s a lot of good d-men, and a lot of good skill. I know that I’m a hard worker and I know that all those other d-men are too. I don’t see them play a whole lot – they play in the other conference. I didn’t even play against some of those guys this year. I know they’re all hard workers as well, and that they have a lot of skill.
NYI: Talk about the NHL draft combine, and what that experience was like.
RM: It’s fun. It was good to go there. I had some busy days and it was just good to experience that, and good to go in there and tell the scouts what you are about and what you think your game is like, and a little bit about your family and where you come from.
NYI: Did you learn anything at the World Junior tournament?
RM: It was good to be able to play there. I was injured right before that, so I didn’t know if I was going to be able to go or not. I was happy that I was healthy enough to go. It was a good experience getting to play against the top junior players in the world, and it was pretty cool that I got to do it at home too.
NYI: No matter which team drafts you, what kinds of things are you doing to prepare for your first NHL training camp?
RM: I’m just trying to get stronger, hit the gym, work hard and get the cardio up before camp. My goal is to jump up (to the NHL), and hopefully I can. At the same time, I know it’s a big jump and it’s going to take a lot of work, and I’m prepared for that.
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