He is an all-American defenseman, born to a former Boston Bruin, he has hockey in his blood. With the future of the Arizona Coyotes franchise is at his fingertips, what has his hockey career looked like and how will he aid the Coyotes this season.
Connor Murphy was drafted 29th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2011. He played with the U.S. National Team Development Program prior to being drafted. Murphy was a part of the IIHF World U18 Championship team that took gold in 2011. He scored three goals and had one assist in the 6 games during the tournament. Murphy’s most important goal came in overtime of the gold medal game against Sweden.
Murphy signed with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL, where he played from 2011-2013. His first and only appearance with the Coyotes affiliate, Portland Pirates, came in 2013-2014 when he played 36 games with the team.
Oct 15, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy (5) shoots and scores on Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens (30) during the second period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
On November 16, 2013 Murphy made his NHL debut with the Phoenix Coyotes as they played the Tampa Bay Lightning. In his first game, Murphy had his first NHL goal. Though he finished the 2013-2014 season with the team, he had only one goal and seven assists. Going into the 2014-2015 season, Murphy had everything to prove and he did just that.
Yes, he is a very young defenseman, but Connor Murphy proved he could compete with some of the best. He is not a high goal scorer, but showed that he will have a bright future with the Coyotes. In 73 games in 2014-2015, he Murphy had four goals and three assists. He found himself as a hard-hitting defenseman with over 100 hits, and someone who could block shots when needed with more than 100 blocks.Last season’s stats are not a complete reflection of how Murphy play; the whole team struggled to score, and play defense, on a consistent basis. 2014-2015 season was his first full year with the team, and as he heads into the 2015-2016 season he will be one of several young players on the roster.
Dec 20, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Connor Murphy (5) checks Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) in the second period of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Murphy is coming into his own, not only on the ice but in the community. In the 2015 offseason Murphy modeled the new uniforms for the fans at the Coyotes Draft Party, and ran the torch on behalf of the Coyotes in the United Relay Run for Special Olympics. Murphy is poised to have a great season as the Coyotes defense continues to improve with the re-acquiring of Zbynek Michalek and trading for Nicklas Grossmann.
Murphy represents the future of the organization. A future that will have Max Domi, Dylan Strome, Anthony Duclair, Brendan Perlini, and Christian Dvorak. It is unlikely that Strome, Perlini, or Dvorak will make the team this season, but Murphy is one of many young Coyotes that will break into the roster in the next few years.
It is all up to Murphy on how well he does this year. The 2015-2016 season should be a great season for Murphy as he has become firmilar with the Coyotes system. Can he have a ten-goal year and an offensive-defensemen, or will he continue to be the defenseman fans saw last season? No matter what he does, Murphy is the future of the Coyotes and as of now the future looks bright.