2009-10: Ryan Murphy skated in 62 games for the Kitchener Rangers as a 16-year-old OHL rookie. He was second amongst Kitchener defensemen with 39 points; scoring 6 goals with 33 assists and was minus-three with 22 penalty minutes. Kitchener finished second in the Midwest Division and reached the Western Conference finals in the playoffs. Murphy scored 5 goals with 12 assists and was minus-two in 20 playoff games.
2010-11: Murphy was the OHL’s second-leading scorer amongst defensemen, trailing only Windsor’s Ryan Ellis (NSH), in his second season with the Kitchener Rangers. He scored 26 goals with 53 assists and was plus-22 with 36 penalty minutes in 63 games. Kitchener finished second to OHL champion Owen Sound in the Midwest Division but lost a first round playoff series to Plymouth. Murphy had 2 goals with 9 assists and was plus-one in the seven game series. Murphy was the leading scorer for fourth-place Canada at the 2011 U18 World Junior Championship; scoring 4 goals with 9 assists and finishing plus-two in seven games. Ranked ninth amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings, he was selected by the Hurricanes in the first round (12th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Murphy attended camp with the Hurricanes and signed an entry-level three-year contract with Carolina in September before returning to Kitchener for his third OHL season. He bounced back after missing time during the year with concussion issues and was one of the OHL’s top offensive defensemen; particularly in the playoffs. In 49 regular season games he scored 11 goals with 43 assists and was plus-14 with 30 penalty minutes. Kitchener finished second in the Midwest Division and lost to eventual OHL champion London in the Western Conference finals. Murphy scored 2 goals with 20 assists in 16 playoff games and was minus-two with 12 penalty minutes.
2012-13: Murphy made his NHL debut, skating in four February games with the Hurricanes, and joined Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte after Kitchener was eliminated from the OHL playoffs. He also played for Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Murphy had no points and was -4 with 2 penalty minutes. averaging 21 minutes of ice time with the Hurricanes before being sent back to Kitchener. He had 2 assists in three regular season games with the Checkers and was +1 with 2 assists and 2 penalty minutes in five AHL playoff games. He was the second-leading scorer for Kitchener despite playing in just 54 of 68 games. Murphy scored 10 goals and had a team-best 38 assists and was +14 with 34 penalty minutes. The Rangers finished third in the Midwest Division and lost to OHL champion London in the second round. Murphy scored 3 goals with 4 assists in 10 playoff games and was +1 with 8 penalty minutes. In six games at the WJC he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes. Canada lost to host Russia in the bronze medal game.
2013-14: Murphy played 48 games for the Carolina Hurricanes in his first pro season and skated for the Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate Charlotte. He scored 2 goals with 10 assists and was minus-9 with 10 penalty minutes; averaging 18:17 minutes of ice time for the Hurricanes. Murphy scored at a point-per-game pace in the AHL — scoring 3 goals with 19 assists in 22 games — and was plus-7 with 8 penalty minutes. The Checkers missed the playoffs; finishing fourth in the West Division.
Murphy is one of the league’s premier offensive defenseman prospects. He has all the tools to become a power play quarterback and consistently create scoring chances. A bit undersized, he sometimes has trouble with larger forwards and has struggled positionally in his own end at times. He will need to improve in that area and possibly add some strength and bulk to compete at the NHL level on a full-time basis.
Murphy made the Hurricanes out of training camp in 2014-15 — skating in five games before suffering a lower body injury and subsequently being assigned to AHL affiliate Charlotte after returning from his injury. The 21-year-old continues to be a work in progress in terms of his defensive game and with several veterans in the Hurricanes' lineup they could afford to allow him to develop his game at the AHL level; playing in all situations. Murphy could return to Carolina this season if there are injuries or he could continue to refine his game with the Checkers. Long-term he figures to be one of the league’s biggest point getters among defensemen once he gets the defensive end of things in order.