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Although there is plenty of discourse regarding the forward rankings after Nail Yakupov, the same cannot be said of the draft-eligible defencemen. By most reports, Ryan Murray is the best defence prospect this year, and is projected to go as high as 2nd overall. Such is his potential and NHL-readiness, Team Canada GM Kevin Lowe chose Murray to play at the 2012 World Championship, and was the second youngest player to ever suit up for Canada behind Paul Kariya. But with their pipeline already full of blue-chip defensive prospects, will Montreal pass on this future defensive for help up front?
Born: September 27, 1993 - White City, Saskatchewan
Height: 6'1 Weight: 201 lbs Shoots: Left
ISS Rank: 2 THN Rank: 4 McKeens Rank: 4
Murray is a strong 2-way defenceman that can be used in virtually every situation. His skating is excellent, and he utilises that ability along with his size to make life difficult for the opposition's top forwards. Moreover, his great first pass clears his zone efficiently, and his passing and shot are above average. His point totals aren't what most would expect for a high draft pick selection, but one must wonder if his numbers would be higher if he had been playing for a more offensive team than the Everett Silvertips for the past 3 seasons. Like most top prospects this year, there are questions if Murray is a superstar in the making, or if he will simply be a quality NHLer for years to come.
Despite Murray's apparent readiness to enter the NHL, it is doubtful that he would be playing for the Canadiens in 2012-13, if indeed selected by Montreal. Most would agree that Montreal's defence is too inexperienced to add a rookie, and that they would be better off finding a stop-gap via free agency. Furthermore, with the likes of Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi already in the system, Murray would have his work cut out for him to distance himself from the pack and make the team out of camp. All these reasons would likely point to GM Marc Bergevin passing on Murray come draft day, but it's hard to say if the idea of such an elite corps of defenders in a few years might sway his decision.
- Evaluating the Options: Nail Yakupov posted by Matt Dilworth
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