It’s time for our annual countdown of the best 25 Nashville Predators players under 25 years old.
This is not only a tradition here at OTF, but is also something that you might see at many other SBNation NHL blogs. The premise is simple: rank the 25 best players who have not yet reached their 25th birthday (as of August 1st, 2017).
At #22, defenseman Trevor Murphy.
Trevor Murphy, an undrafted defenseman from Windsor, Ontario, just completed his second season with the Milwaukee Admirals. Passed over in three straight NHL Entry Drafts, Murphy signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Nashville on September 17, 2015 after four years in the Ontario Hockey League with the Peterborough Petes and the Windsor Spitfires.
Murphy started out his junior career with a respectable 20 points in 60 games for the Petes in 2011-12. The next season, 4 points in 23 games saw him traded to his hometown Spitfires, where he posted 24 points in 42 games. This failed to earn him a selection at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, however, he was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs Development Camp that summer on a tryout basis.
The next two seasons in junior, Murphy put up 32 goals, 60 assists and 92 points in 110 games. His breakout campaign in 2014-15 went unnoticed as he was skipped over in the draft and seemed destined for overage status in the OHL. However, after attending the Predators development camp, rookie camp and training camp in the summer of 2015, Murphy was offered his current entry-level deal.
His two seasons with the Admirals have not been a disappointment. Murphy has played 134 of 152 possible regular season games and scored 32 and 33 points in each season. Murphy has done an excellent job of working his way through any defensive logjams in Milwaukee to become a consistent contributor. Expected to see some time in the ECHL upon signing, Murphy has done nothing but impress and become a top fixture in the Admirals’ lineup.
Murphy is a smaller defenseman with a smooth skating stride. He is an excellent passer and carries above-average awareness with the puck on his stick. Much like fellow Predator and former Spitfire Ryan Ellis, Murphy excels at quarterbacking a power play.
As seen below, Murphy carries the puck out of the zone with great vision and finds open ice well when given the opportunity. He is a shot generating defenseman, averaging over two shots per game, and uses a deceptive wrist shot from the point more frequently than other players. He isn’t overly physical but maintains solid gap control and stick work in the defensive zone. At times, he can be caught over-skating the play or wandering out of position.
The Nashville Predators’ defensive depth chart is unforgiving to most. There is not much room to work your way up the ladder. Murphy could benefit from more time in the AHL and could eventually be a very mobile and excellent bottom pair player in the NHL.
Murphy’s entry-level deal lasts for one more season at $690K salary in the NHL and $55K salary in the AHL with a $640 K cap hit. Upon expiry, he will become a restricted free agent.