Ryan Murphy has found his way back onto the Minnesota Wild roster heading into their first game of 2019 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, likely to replace an injured Nick Seeler.
Whilst Nick Seeler has been seen running through some on-ice training, his upper-body issue has seemingly not healed enough to bring him back into the fold. Matt Bartkowski was sent back to the Iowa Wild after a pair of games and now Ryan Murphy finds himself on the Minnesota Wild roster.
Murphy represents a player that hasn’t quite been able to stick it at an NHL level but is borderline too good to be in the American Hockey League. One of those challenging decisions a General Manager must make of passing a player through waivers and hoping he isn’t claimed, as opposed to sitting them endlessly in the press box.
Through 172 NHL games, split between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Minnesota Wild; Ryan Murphy has 54 points, but a rather lacklustre -28 plus/minus. Through 164 AHL games, his plus/minus is just as bad, sitting at -20 but his scoring stats are slightly more accomplished with 17 goals and 90 assists, totalling 107 points.
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The expectation will be that he fills the exact spot that the most recent call-up and subsequent demotion, Matt Bartkowski did.
Bartkowski averaged just over 10 minutes ice-time across the games with the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins, spending the majority of his time on the third pairing with Nate Prosser, though seeing a little time with Jonas Brodin too.
You’d have to expect the exact same duties for Ryan Murphy; filling in on the third defensive pairing with Prosser and hopefully providing a little offense on that pair.
In looking at his promotion from the Iowa Wild, you have to question why the Minnesota Wild were so quick to end Matt Bartkowski’s spell with the big club. I’d say chances are that they are looking at Murphy as a younger asset and thus one with a little more chance of a longer tenure with the club.
Promoting him rewards a positive 13 point display in his 27 games with the Iowa Wild this year. If you can build that into the development of players; that promotion occurs when you put in consistent performances in the AHL, it’s got to be good for morale!
Granted, his promotion only comes about because the blue-line is suffering the loss of not only Matt Dumba, but also their regular third pairing defenseman in Nick Seeler, but it’s proof that hard work is rewarded regardless.
I’m not expecting too much from Ryan Murphy; maybe he can chip in with an assist somewhere, but realistically, he’s stepping in on one of the harder games of the year; the Toronto Maple Leafs, at home, have the ability to wreak havoc with the Minnesota Wild’s line matching.
It’s an unenviable position for Ryan Murphy to be in, but on the flip side, simply being in the NHL is an enviable position, so I guess you take the good and the bad and just roll with it.