Pittsburgh, PA – Ryan Murray has rocketed up the charts to where he stands today as the number-two ranked prospect by Central Scouting with a great chance to end up being selected first overall.
"Growing up, you never really think you're ever going to be in contention when there's so many players out there," said Murray during today's NHL Top Prospect Media Availability. I try to not look at any draft ranks and keep to myself. Not let anything get into my head and stay away from it all. But I guess I'm thinking about it more now."
Murray had 31 points (9 goals) in 46 games during an injury-shortened season with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. He added five points in four playoff games and was far-and-away his team's most valuable player for the campaign.
The blueliner's strong play was rewarded with a trip to the World Hockey Championships where he even suited up for some games for Team Canada thanks to a rash of injuries on defence.
"I can get a little bit of pro experience out of that and it was great to hang out with those guys and play and practice with them," said Murray of his Worlds experience in Helsinki.
The 18-year-old added that his teammates -- Canada GM (and Oilers President of Hockey Operations) Kevin Lowe in particular -- made him feel welcome right from the start, even though the initial plans were for him to have a very minimal role with no main tournament games played.
"He really treated me as part of the team, even though I was only supposed to be there for a week. They all treated me extremely well and Kevin helped me out a lot when I was there. Talked to me after every game and gave me a pat on the back every once in awhile."
As for the connection of Kevin Lowe's team owning the first overall pick and Ryan Murray being in contention for it, well, that didn't cross the talented defender's mind even once.
"I didn't even think about it. I got to go play and that's all I cared about," said Murray.
In speaking with 630 CHED's Dan Tencer earlier today, Stu MacGregor confirmed the Oilers' decision is now down to two players for the top pick. Murray said he hoped he was one of the two.
"I hope so. I hope I'm in contention for it but we'll see," Murray remarked. "I had a few meetings with them. Got to meet all the guys in the organization and stuff like that but they're not giving out any hints or anything."
Plenty of rumours have been swirling around Pittsburgh the last few days that this draft could see a lot of movement of picks. Murray's thoughts on that were essentially, whatever happens happens.
"Some guys have a little bit of a clue and other guys don't. It's tough to say what's going to happen. There's so many rumours about trades and what's going to happen. We're all just keeping an open mind to it."