The Miami University RedHawks emerged as the big winner among NCAA schools in the opening round of the 2011 NHL Draft at the Xcel Energy Center last night with two incoming freshmen taken in the top 30.
Defenseman Connor Murphy went to the Phoenix Coyotes with the 20th overall selection followed by bruising power forward Tyler Biggs going two picks later (22nd overall) to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both players will arrive in Oxford, OH this fall.
Murphy, the son of former NHLer Gord Murphy, is delighted to be going to Phoenix.
"It’s been a major goal of mine for years to become drafted by the NHL. I’ve visited Phoenix a couple of times and couldn’t be any more happier to be a part of this organization now."
For Biggs having grown up as a Leafs fan, it’s a dream come true.
"For me and my family right now it’s a dream come true. I grew up watching them, watching Hockey Night in Canada with my dad. I have all my relatives back home blowing up my phone right now. I can’t wait to potentially get there."
Both players are also looking forward to coming to Miami and playing for head coach Enrico Blasi as well.
"I’m ecstatic," said Biggs. "I had a great relationship with the coaches right off the bat through the recruiting process. They’ve been with me since day one going through everything, and I’ve really appreciated it. They’re a team that’s headed in the right direction. They’re not a team that sits back on their heels. I can’t wait to get things started."
"It’s amazing," said Murphy. I’ve been committed since last year and can’t wait to get to Miami. I’ve watched them and they’ve had such great success over the past few years. It’s a place where I hope to become a good player there as well."
"Me and Connor have been great friends," said Biggs when asked about playing with soon-to-be teammate Murphy. "He’s actually going to be my roommate, so I’m so happy for him. I can’t wait to see him hopefully soon."
One of the concerns among those in the scouting community about selecting Murphy was his bouts with injuries over the last two years. As Murphy explains, he’s been forthright about his injuries to the NHL teams that he has spoken with.
"It was one of the biggest parts of my meetings (with NHL teams). I told them that my injuries have cleared and that it wasn’t going to affect my future. I just gave the teams all the information that they needed. Once they knew that, it was cleared and wasn’t a problem."
Miami, who will have one of the nation’s best incoming classes this fall, could have as many as six recruits selected by draft’s end on Saturday.