The Carolina Hurricanes have assigned defenseman Ryan Murphy, the 12th overall pick in the 2011 draft, to Charlotte.
Murphy, 20, could be available as early as Friday’s game against Oklahoma City after sitting out each of Carolina’s last four games as a healthy extra. By joining the AHL roster before Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline, Murphy is now eligible to play for Charlotte through the duration of the NHL’s upcoming Olympic break, provided he stays with the Checkers until that break begins on Feb. 9.
The only other Hurricanes player on an entry-level contract who is not actually playing in the Olympics, 2013 first-round draft pick Elias Lindholm, is still eligible to play for the Checkers during the Olympic break despite not accompanying Murphy to the AHL on Friday. Because he has spent fewer days on the NHL roster than Murphy and only recently rejoined the team from the World Junior Championship in Sweden, Lindholm was not subject to Friday's deadline.
Carolina still has seven defensemen at its disposal following the assignment of Murphy, with former Checker Brett Bellemore also scratched for the team’s last four games. Carolina plays seven more times until the beginning of the Olympic break, while the Checkers are scheduled to play six times, including twice at Raleigh’s PNC Arena, during that hiatus.
The addition of Murphy gives Charlotte eight healthy defensemen, with Beau Schmitz sitting out each of the last two.
In 39 NHL games with the Hurricanes this season, Murphy scored 11 points (2g, 9a) to rank third among team blueliners. Three of those points came on the power play, where he was a regular fixture while in the lineup during his rookie campaign.
A high scorer with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers (220 points in 228 games) Murphy played a total of eight AHL contests with Charlotte at the conclusion of his junior career late last season. He registered four assists during that time, including two in five playoff games as the Checkers fell to Oklahoma City in the first round.