Step to the forefront Ryan Murray

Now that the 2011 NHL draft is over, those eligible for the 2012 draft now step into the spotlight of the hockey prospect world. That means Everett captain and star defenseman Ryan Murray is about to become a really big deal. Murray, who is being talked about as a top-five pick in 2012, will likely be a household name in Canada by this time next year.

In that story I wrote, I didn’t have the space to talk about the first time I saw Murray play, so I thought I’d do it here. Murray was Everett’s first-round pick in the 2008 bantam draft, taken ninth overall. He was billed as a small but skilled defenseman who would provide offense from the blueline unlike any other defenseman in Everett history. He was the highest pick Everett had since taking Zach Hamill first overall in the team’s first-ever draft in 2003, so I was eager to take a look at him when training camp began in August.

When Murray came onto the ice for his first rookie scrimmage, my first impression was he looked bigger on the ice than advertised. Size was considered his biggest weakness, but it didn’t look like it was going to be a problem to me.

I was expecting to see Murray, because of his offensive reputation, jumping into the play constantly. Players at rookie training camp are trying to impress, so they tend to play a bit overly aggressive. I remember Jonathan Harty as a 16-year-old at training camp in 2004 taking every opportunity to activate offensively from the blue line, and he was never really considered an offensive defenseman during his Tips career. But there was little of that from Murray early on as he seemed content to play his defensive role. It was a little bit disappointing.

Then came the moment. About halfway through that first scrimmage Murray was carrying the puck toward center ice when an opposing forward came at him hard. Murray, almost casually, did this fancy spin move to avoid the onrushing player, then just as he came out of the spin he got rid of the puck, putting it right on a teammate’s stick. Hmmm, maybe this player was something special after all.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d just seen the essence of Murray. He’s a player who has special abilities, but they’re not always obvious because to him the priority is to take care of his responsibilities as a defenseman first.

No, Murray isn’t about showing off the flashy skills, Murray is about playing winning hockey. And that’s why we’ll be hearing his name called early next June.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kenai Sinaphet takes the hand off from head coach, Dalton Schwetz, during practice Wednesday afternoon at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on August 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Fresh start’ for Marysville Pilchuck under new coach Schwetz

The Tomahawks begin practice without longtime coach Brandon Carson, who stepped down following last year’s playoff run.

Stanwood's Ryder Bumgarner rushes with yardage with Arlington's Trenton Lamie, left, closing in the third quarter Friday night at Stanwood High School on September 24, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Prep football: 5 storylines to watch this season

A look at some intriguing questions as local high school football practices get underway.

The Central Welding Supply 125, which serves as the season finale at Evergreen Speedway, will attempt to run on Saturday, after being bumped postponed last weekend due to weather.
Community roundup: ARCA West comes to Evergreen Speedway

Plus, a host of local collegians earn preseason honors, Jake Luton gets released by the Jaguars and more.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox fall to Canadians in slugfest

Everett loses 12-8 as the two teams combine for 30 hits.

Seattle Mariners' Cal Raleigh celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Raleigh homers twice, Mariners top Angels to complete sweep

Seattle hits four total home runs in an 11-7 win over Los Angeles.

Seattle Storm head coach Noelle Quinn directs her team during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Las Vegas Aces, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Sam Morris)
Can 2nd-year coach Quinn lead Storm to 5th WNBA title?

Seattle’s postseason gets underway at home against Washington on Thursday night.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock (2) walks the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Carroll laments lost chance for Lock, Seahawks due to COVID

The QB will miss an opportunity to start Thursday’s preseason game after getting the virus for the second time.

People explore Everett Memorial Stadium’s new turf and track during an open house event Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett Memorial Stadium reopens with new-look field, track

The facility, which originally opened in 1947, underwent renovations this summer.

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Kraken’s new AHL affiliate set to play game in Everett

The Coachella Valley Firebirds take the ice at Angel of the Winds Arena on Oct. 28.

Most Read