Ryan Murray is expected to be the first defenseman - and perhaps the first player - selected in this weekend's draft at Consol Energy Center.
At 19, Murray is one of the older players available among the top prospects. In 46 games for the Everett Silvertips last season, Murray scored 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists). In addition to representing Canada in last season's World Junior Championships, Murray played for Team Canada with NHL veterans in May's World Championship. He was the first ever draft eligible player to play for Canada in that tournament.
Yesterday, he talked about his draft prospects:
Are you nervous about the first round Friday?
"I think more anxious, more exited than nervous I think. Everyone doesn’t really know what’s going to happen and that’s what makes it exciting for Friday. (The prospects) been talking about it with each other. We really have no idea were anyone’s going to go."
What do you think will be the biggest adjustment going from juniors to the NHL?
"I think probably just the speed and the physical size of the guys. It’s such a faster game and the guys are so much bigger and stronger than the junior leagues."
Is there anyone in the NHL you try to emulate?
"I really like the way (Blackhawks defenseman) Duncan Keith plays. I really like his style. Just the way he handles himself on the ice. So good in every single zone. He’s so good with the puck as well. Always makes the right play. Just a great player to watch."
Defense is traditionally a position which takes time to learn but in recent years defensemen such as Los Angeles' Drew Doughty and Anaheim's Cam Fowler have made the immediate jump from juniors to the NHL. Is that a realistic goal for you?
"That’s what I want to do. That’s my goal. That’s what I want to do next year. Fowler made it at 18. I have an extra year, I have a late birthday. I’ve had an extra year in junior . I want to make the jump but I have a lot of work to do. But that’s definitely my goal."
Does having a late birthday improve your stock?
"I think so. I get an extra year than the other guys. I missed the cut-off date by like 12 days. Not by much. I get a pretty big start on the other guys. I guess scouts keep that in mind too."
(Photo: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)