Murray looks to be leader among blueliners.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.

Defenceman Ryan Murray seems ready to be the first defenceman picked in the draft.

Day 5:  Ryan Murray, D Everett Silvertips. 2nd NA.

The 2012 draft is top heavy with talented forwards but Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray figures to be the first blueliner to warrant a pick.

Still, the pick is in flux. With a bevy of young forwards, the Edmonton Oilers, owners of the first overall pick,  may want to drop a place or two and emerge with Murray.

A six-foot-defenceman and captain with the (WHL’s) Everett Silvertips, Murray is an effortless skater with offensive upside. In his sophomore Western League season Murray scored nine times and added 22 assists in 46 games. Barring an unexpected turn, he will likely be wearing someone else’s baseball hat and jersey when the Leafs choose at number five.

Murray also filled in when injuries struck Canada’s World Championship team and accompanied the club overseas where he was pointless in six games. It represented a rare triple: Murray also wore Canadian colours at the World Juniors and captained Team Canada at the under-18 world championship.

“I am honored Team Canada has called upon me to play for them. I’m just really happy about having the opportunity.”

Sound in all three zones, Murray is probably the most NHL-ready defenceman in the draft. Nearly every player who skated in the NHL at 18 were forwards with players like New Jersey defenceman Adam Larsson standing out as a rare exception.

“It’s been done before. You know it’s possible at least,” Murray said. “I’ve got to have a big summer and hopefully crack the lineup next year.

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. All opinions expressed by Mike Ulmer are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Toronto Maple Leafs or its Hockey Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Maple Leafs and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NHL accredited member of the media.



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