OILERS PICK AT #1: RYAN MURRAY (what might have been)

The Edmonton Oilers addressed an enormous need this afternoon in selecting White City, SK blueliner Ryan Murray. This draft’s only certain “plug and play” defenseman won the day over an exceptional scorer and a parade of blue.

SCOUTING REPORT

  • Corey Pronman: Ryan Murray is advanced beyond his years with well above-average hockey sense and the rare kind of game-processing ability and vision that makes him a significant two-way threat even without elite offensive tools. Murray is a great presence on the back-end with the puck because he rarely makes a mistake and even though he doesn’t limit himself to the basic plays, he not will force the big passes if they are not there. He doesn’t get rushed by opposing forechecks and is one of the best outlet passers in this draft. Murray makes smart reads defensively, takes his assignments well, and will not shy from using his body to separate his check from the puck. He’s an above-average to plus skater although he isn’t the kind of player to threaten regularly with a speed game on the rush, rather he relies on a great first step and all-around mobility to keep the play in front of him and close on the puck. Murray’s puck skills are solid, and while he’s not a dangler, he can certainly hold his own in open ice. On the power play, he is a pass-first guy who makes the smart plays and the difficult passes with consistency. He also has a pretty hard shot and can wire it through legs when he needs to. While Murray does not project as an elite prospect, he has a low risk tag on his projection. He will be the kind of player to log over 20 minutes a game while playing tough minutes against the opposition’s best players while still managing to put up impressive possession numbers.
  • Grant McCagg, tsn: Strengths: A real ‘Steady Eddie’ on the blue line; rarely makes a mistake and displays a poise well beyond his years. Smart, dependable rearguard who will be on the ice protecting leads at the end of games. Strong skater with a powerful stride. A team leader with high character. He moves the puck with short, accurate passes. Hard to beat one-on-one. Weaknesses: He’s not a punishing guy who will provide a physical presence while his offensive skills may be limited and he may be more of a stay-at home defender. NHL upside: A No. 2 or No. 3 defenceman with leadership qualities who will be relied upon to shut down team’s top players, kill penalties and protect leads.
  • ISS: Murray has been a model of consistency for the Everett Silvertips since returning to the lineup. The maturity and composure he displayed earlier this season continued to shine. His defensive hockey sense separates him from most in this draft, and is considered the draft’s most complete defenseman. He’s generally matched up against the most teams’ top line, logging upwards of 25 minutes per game. Has more offensive upside than given credit for and bright future ahead of him.
  • Central Scouting’s BJ MacDonald: “I think Murray is more like a [Scott] Niedermayer; he just does everything under the radar and so smooth you hardly notice it. His skating is probably the best in the [WHL], but you don’t really notice that so much because you almost take it for granted he’s been there for three years. He never gets out of position and I’ve never seen him lose a one-on-one battle. He’s always, defensively, in the right spots. He just does everything so seamlessly that he reminds me of Niedermayer only because he does everything so well at such a high level and after a while, you don’t even notice it.”
  • Peter Sullivan, NHL Central Scouting: I think Murray brings something to the game … he brings a steadiness to the game to the point that you know he’ll play 15 years in the League without any problem.
  • Mark Recchi: Murray reminds me a little bit (of) Ray Bourque. He has that Ray Bourque look to me, real composed and strong. He skates a lot like him, too. When I first saw him, I was trying to pinpoint who he reminded me of and then it hit me — Bourque.

 

THE GOOD

  • Excellent speed and a very good defenseman. Most of his value comes from the redline in, and the advanced stats we value don’t reward players for it.
  • The BJ MacDonald scouting report above is exceptional. If Murray can live up to that, his drafting team should be very pleased with him.
  • 6.01, 195 and will turn 19 on September 27. He’s an older prospect, a positive and a negative.  However, since we’re not talking about offensive development with this player, his ability to play defense and advanced maturity is a positive.
  • Intelligent player. I don’t think we should overlook this aspect of his resume, as we know the Oilers highly value the cerebral.

THE BAD

  • His injury–high ankle sprain–is a tough one but he should be fine overall. The injury does serve as a reminder that drafting defenseman can be a sticky wicket. When we say things like “defenseman take time to develop” we should add “and some  of them fall away because of injury” because it is such a difficult position to play.
  • This is not Denis Potvin. Ryan Murray has a glimmering scouting report, but I think the comparisons to Scott Niedermayer may set him up for disappointment among the fanbase. I think he’ll be more offensively capable than Chris Phillips, and he does have a good shot acccording to the scouting reports. But a guess at an outer marker should probably  use Dougie Hamilton as a comparable. We’ll see.

MY THOUGHTS

  • I have no quarrel with the scouting staff. They trusted their board, that’s the job.
  • Those who suggest Edmonton made a mistake today have an extremely strong case. If the Oilers felt Murray was the man, dealing down was the move. This is the kind of asset management that losing teams do over and over again. Not recognizing the situation tells us the Oilers are not strong in the front office. This lands squarely on Steve Tambellini. Inertia.
  • A lot has been made about Murray being NHL ready. I think that kind of thinking is a mistake. Even if Murray comes in and shoot the lights out, the smart move is to send him back to junior. The Oilers need to fix the blue before this blue chipper arrives and then bring him in as a 6th man with a veteran partner like Schultz in 12-13. That’s the right play.
  • This is a draft for need. We shouldn’t allow the verbal to sway elsewhere.
  • If you don’t like the pick, fine. But I would like to take a moment to urge fans not to hold it against Ryan Murray. The kid didn’t ask to get drafted #1, and lord knows he’s an important piece of the future. Take your rage out on management, or the scouts, or something else.
  • He’ll be here next week.
  • The reasons Edmonton passed on Yakupov were not available via numbers or the viewings of a fan. Whatever his shortcomings, if he pops 25 goals next season it’ll be very difficult to write a script that puts this Oilers draft in a positive light.
  • I think the Oilers badly wanted Reinhart. I mean badly. Why didn’t they trade down to take him?
  • Welcome to the Edmonton Oilers, Ryan Murray! I sincerely hope you enjoy hit. A quick word of advice: rock someone in your first game, just lay them out. It’ll help, believe me.
  • Stu MacGregor and his staff walk on water in this town, and certainly on this blog. They must absolutely love this player if they’ve made this selection. Hopefully it all works out. I think the scouts’ reputation will suffer.

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44 Responses to "OILERS PICK AT #1: RYAN MURRAY (what might have been)"

  1. bookje says:

    I am done with this team. Nail could have put the Oilers over the top, but Fumballini goes and tries to fix the defense problem by picking Murray. It probably because he knows that there is no way that Schultz is coming here and no free agents will ever sign with this organization. What a joke.

  2. Woodguy says:

    I understand wanting to get your “Neidermeyer or Pronger”, but all indications is that this guy isn’t it.

    A fine player for sure, but not a franchise cornerstone like they are looking for.

    The Oilers still have a dearth of forward depth and excellent Dman depth, although most of the Dman depth is 2-3 years away from taking a shift in the NHL.

    I guess this spells the end to any chance that had at J.Shultz.

    Not that they really had a chance. Who comes to Edmonton by choice? LOL

  3. Matt.N says:

    Nothing says poor management like looking for the solution to your terrible defensive group in a rookie that has never taken a shift in the NHL.

  4. Cactus says:

    C’mon guys. I don’t like this pick either, but the scouts see these guys way more than us. All we have are boxcars. What if Nail is playing 30 mins a night?

    We don’t know anything. Patience. We can burn down Rexall if this is a total flop in 3 years.

    (Even commentors can have canned responses!)

  5. bookje says:

    Woodguy:
    I understand wanting to get your “Neidermeyer or Pronger”, but all indications is that this guy isn’t it.

    A fine player for sure, but not a franchise cornerstone like they are looking for.

    The Oilers still have a dearth of forward depth and excellent Dman depth, although most of the Dman depth is 2-3 years away from taking a shift in the NHL.

    I guess this spells the end to any chance that had at J.Shultz.

    Not that they really had a chance.Who comes to Edmonton by choice? LOL

    WG – I don’t think there was ever any chance of Schultz signing here. He’s going to Vancouver.

  6. gd says:

    Anyone who questions Treena’s inside connections has to shut up from now on.

    I also found it interesting that Cbus took Forsberg 2nd, despite his poor boxcars he might have been most teams top pick. Funny how Yak fell to Burke and now he claims they had Yak so highly rated that this makes up for not getting Seguin.

    I’m not happy but maybe we’ll get Collberg in the 2nd round.

  7. Bruce McCurdy says:

    I guess all those fans who insist this management group is beyond clueless were right on the Nail.

  8. Traktor says:

    We still have no centers.

  9. Woodguy says:

    Matt.N:
    Nothing says poor management like looking for the solution to your terrible defensive group in a rookie that has never taken a shift in the NHL.

    Well done.

  10. Lowetide says:

    This is becoming the best thread. Ever. Ah God, I spit coffee.

  11. dawgtoy says:

    Safe but sound
    First-round pick Ryan Murray lived up to his billing as the No. 2 overall selection, said Springfield coach Brad Larsen, who ran on-ice sessions during camp.
    “He’s pretty much what was advertised,” Larsen said. “I kind of laugh when they say he’s the safe pick. I don’t know of many teams that wouldn’t want a safe defenseman that can play for the next 15 years. I’m very impressed with what he brought.”

    From this article
    http://www.bluejacketsxtra.com/content/stories/2012/07/08/top-prospects-wrap-up-camp-with-boost-from-spirited-fans.html

  12. Woodguy says:

    bookje: WG – I don’t think there was ever any chance of Schultz signing here.He’s going to Vancouver.

    I think its Toronto. His buddy Jake Gardenier is there. Burke is the one who drafted him.

    Don’t all Canadian kids dream of playing for the Leafs?

    That’s what TSN, Globe and Mail, Star and other National media outlets tell me.

  13. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    welcome to the Oilers Ryan Murphy.

  14. bookje says:

    LT – you got this up pretty quickly, if you pre-wrote one for Nail, you should post it. I am sure we would all love to read it.

  15. hockeyguy10 says:

    Well at least Godot10 is happy today.

  16. Doug McLachlan says:

    If Stu says this is the guy, this is the guy. In Stu We Trust.

    That said we have made it that much harder to get Schultz.

    If we could still get JS, we have two blue line cornerstones (with the Klefbaum on the conveyor belt) we can turn the organization’s weakness on the back end into a strength.

    We may still be in the running for Schultz, you know. Fussy britches thinks we still are in the game – with Ottawa ?!? Of course now that she nailed Murray we have to give her some cred.

  17. Cactus says:

    hockeyguy10:
    Well at least Godot10 is happy today.

    I thought I heard a high pitched squealing coming from somewhere.

  18. Doug McLachlan says:

    bookje:
    LT – you got this up pretty quickly, if you pre-wrote one for Nail, you should post it.I am sure we would all love to read it.

    Agreed. Would love to see how it goes in that alternative future – with the hope and shit.

  19. Notbookje says:

    That Bookje guy sure was an arrogant ass with all his “Relax, the Oilers will pick Nail” stuff, eh. What a loser that guy is.

  20. Gerta Rauss says:

    The only thing that could make this weekend worse is if we draft Moroz in the 2nd round.

  21. steveb12344 says:

    It’s just as well, i think that Yakupov kid will just go back to the KHL anyways

  22. hockeyguy10 says:

    Gerta Rauss:
    The only thing that could make this weekend worse is if we draft Moroz in the 2nd round.

    That will never happen. Oilers always take BPA!!

  23. Notbookje says:

    Anyone want my Tambellini fan club pin. I have a pewter one and a bronze one.

  24. TheOtherJohn says:

    When Murray is on his 9th AllStar team 10years from now with 2 Norris Trophy’s, we will look back at this draft and thank LoweBellini for their strength of character in making this decision. A cross between Neidemayer and Lidstrom. How the Oilers knew his career arc is truly fascinating. simply brilliant!!

    In other NHL news Nail Yakupov scores his 410th goal in NHL regular season play and Quebec City Nordiques sign Marc Antoine Pouliot to a 4 way deal (NHL, AHL, ECHL and Saint-Anselme Senior no hit men’s league). Last season, MAP lead the SASNHL with 137 goals. The Nordiques are Pouliot’s 26th NHL team. On signing Pouliot said “the race isn’t over yet”

  25. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Notbookje:
    Anyone want my Tambellini fan club pin.I have a pewter one and a bronze one.

    I tried to destroy my Adamantine one.. to no avail… let that be a lesson to all of you: be damn sure of anything you seal upon Adamant…

  26. Cactus says:

    Notbookje,

    I can’t believe you followed through with your promise. But you’ve flip-flopped on management. That’s unforgiveable.

  27. Woodguy says:

    Notbookje:
    Anyone want my Tambellini fan club pin.I have a pewter one and a bronze one.

    Are you giving away my pewter pin?

  28. slopitch says:

    I can’t believe the Islanders gave up all their picks this year for Yakapov. What was mgmt thinking passing on him?!?

  29. franksterra says:

    If we get 12 years of “Chris Phillips at his best” type play, Ryan4 will have covered this bet. He’ll just make Pecks, Plante and Fedun that much better, freeing them up for what they do best. Samuelsson was icing on the cake!

  30. jfry says:

    do our d depth is something like this now:

    murray – (we don’t have someone to play top minutes with him)
    smid – petry (if he can get a decent contract)
    schultz – sutton

    man, gilbert would look good with this murray kid.

    that said, it’s been fun reading your blog LT, but i’m now officially a fan of the blue jackets because it’s obvious they knew what they were doing in drafting yakupov, my new favourite player.

    thanks for the good times everyone, see you on myspace.

  31. franksterra says:

    Larianov must be relieved.

  32. jfry says:

    does hall give up number 4 for this kid? he’s obviously the second coming and taylor is yesterday’s news.

  33. Buchburgler says:

    Not sure why they went ahead with this pick. Im sure if they had drafted a forward and waited until rookie camp they would have seen we already have Klefbom who is ready to step into the NHL as our saviour and #1 D.

  34. Ryan says:

    Luckily, nothing to see here. Hell hath no furry like an Oilers fan scorned.

    Let’s face, we’re Oilers fans. This means 10 years from now we’ll remember the Khabibulin contract like it was yesterday, but we’ll have a hard time remembering grabbing Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov.

    We’ll remember the slight overpay on Dubnyk, but we’ll forget the deal we got on Petry.

    Don’t believe me?

    Weren’t we collectively crying over the current Smid contract as an overpay at the time it was inked? Now instead, we are lamenting the fact that Tambo didn’t ink him for the same cap hit over a longer term.

  35. Notbookje says:

    Ryan – Ryan? Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. Sigh, Ryan…

  36. franksterra says:

    Ryan:
    Luckily, nothing to see here.Hell hath no furry like an Oilers fan scorned.

    Let’s face, we’re Oilers fans.This means 10 years from now we’ll remember the Khabibulin contract like it was yesterday, butwe’ll have a hard time remembering grabbing Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov.

    We’ll remember the slight overpay on Dubnyk, but we’ll forget the deal we got on Petry.

    Don’t believe me?

    Weren’t we collectively crying over the current Smid contract as an overpay at the time it was inked?Now instead, we are lamenting the fact that Tambo didn’t ink him for the same cap hit over a longer term.

    Aaaaannnd cut…..that’s a wrap on the thread, LT.

  37. Kagato says:

    Damnit, Scarlett was right! While we were getting out of bed for a late breakfast, I told her that we’d have to take Yakupov as BPA. Sigh, another bet lost. At least I can hop in the Ferrari and drive around the the coast for a bit with her to get out the frustration…gotta remember to call Katz later on to ridicule him on that choice before hopping on the private jet.

    If this is an alternate reality, might as well be a good one. :)

  38. Jesse says:

    Man, my favorite moment of the draft was when the Wild traded Dany Heatley to Winnipeg for Bogosian because they knew they’d never cash in on Suter unless they gave him a lifetime contract.

  39. Smarmy says:

    Well Schultz was going to Burke or the Canucks and this team needs a profile dman.

    Oilers and Wild will share the basement in the land of jilted lovers.

  40. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Ryan: Weren’t we collectively crying over the current Smid contract as an overpay at the time it was inked? Now instead, we are lamenting the fact that Tambo didn’t ink him for the same cap hit over a longer term.

    Trust Tambellini to screw things up — too high a cap hit AND too short a term.

  41. nathan says:

    LT – you got this up pretty quickly, if you pre-wrote one for Nail, you should post it. I am sure we would all love to read it.

    bookje,

    +1

    At least for a couple of hours, so that we can screencap it forever.

    Still can’t believe LT’s spidey sense warned him that Murray was a for real possibility. I’d have thought it about as likely as the Riders winning the upcoming opener against the TiCats.

  42. nathan says:

    “LT – you got this up pretty quickly, if you pre-wrote one for Nail, you should post it. I am sure we would all love to read it”

    bookje,

    Hey. He did it. Backdated it and everything to make it super-realistic. Still trying to figure out how to back date my comments so that I can join in the fun over there:

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/06/oilers-at-1-nail-yakupov.html

  43. godot10 says:

    What effing day is it. I just woke up in the middle of desert . I think I can see the Vegas skyline. I had to grab my iphone away from the monkey. I have no Idea how I got here. Last thing I remember was that the Oilers picked Ryan Murray, and we started partying on the island…you know, Murray Island.

    Oh oh. I see I have a couple of new tattoos. On my left shoulder. Stu rules. And on my right. Godot came.

    Welcome to my world!

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