Good draft for Kitchener
For the 8th time in franchise history, the Kitchener Rangers have had multiple players selected in the first round of the NHL entry draft. But the night did not go entirely as expected.
Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan Murphy also appeared poised to become the 4th Rangers duo to be taken in the Top 10. Instead, Murphy slipped all the way to 12th before being picked by the Carolina Hurricanes.
And that’s just fine with Murphy, who will be reunited with former Rangers teammate and NHL rookie of the year Jeff Skinner.
“I honestly can’t wait to get into that building (the RBC Center) and step onto the ice for the first time,” Murphy says enthusiastically, despite admitting to being nervous about not being among the first ten names called. “I know Jeff Skinner loved it there and hopefully I can love it, too.”
At the other end of the spectrum, things went pretty much as planned for Gabriel Landeskog. The Rangers captain was taken second overall by the Colorado Avalanche but joked later he may have jumped the gun when getting out of his seat.
“When I heard the Kitchener Rangers (team name called), I was already getting up before I realized that Ryan Murphy was still sitting up there as well,” Landeskog says with a laugh.
Like Murphy, Landeskog is looking to the former Ranger Skinner as an example to follow for any young player hoping to make the NHL as a teenager.
And that’s something both players intend on doing.
“My goal is to make the team in the fall. If I sit here and say anything else, I’d be lying to you guys,” Landeskog says candidly. “I’ve got some things to work on during the summer but when it comes to training camp, it’s up to me to show the management and coaching staff that I’m there to stay.”
Landeskog is a lifelong Avalanche fan thanks to fellow Swede Peter Forsberg. He says he had a poster of the NHL star in his room as a kid, as well as a poster of Colorado’s 2001 Stanley Cup champion team. Landeskog says his goal now is to one day be in that Stanley Cup picture.
As for Murphy, he plans to address criticisms of his size by adding 15 pounds this summer. He believes that will keep him at a good enough weight to allow him to “play the kind of game that I play.” After that, all bets are off at training camp.
“I’m a confident kid and I’d like to say I’ll be playing in the NHL next year,” Murphy states boldly. “I’ve seen Jeff Skinner do it and I think to myself, why can’t I as well?”
Kitchener native Mark Scheifele may have been one of the biggest surprises of the draft, going 7th overall to the just-named Winnipeg Jets. Scheifele had 75 points while playing with the Barrie Colts last season.
Kitchener Rangers Mike Morrison and Tobias Rieder are expected to be picked sometime today (Saturday). 570 News will send an alert as soon as those selections are made.
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