Saturday

Rob Murphy

The mid 1980s were real bad times for the Vancouver Canucks. Wins were few and far between, and until the arrival of Pat Quinn as general manager, there was little hope.

Quinn set out to change the fortunes of the Vancouver Canucks franchise through the draft. Everyone remembers Quinn selecting Trevor Linden second overall in the 1988 NHL draft, but not every seems to remember that draft was actually Quinn's second with the Canucks.

Quinn's first draft was in 1987. Due to previous management trading away the team's 1st round draft choice, third overall, in the infamous Cam Neely/Barry Pederson swap, Quinn's first draft pick never got the same attention that Linden got.

Quinn finally got a chance to make his first draft choice with the 24th overall pick, early in the second round. Quinn called out the name Rob Murphy, a big workhorse out of the Laval Titans of the QMJHL.

Murphy was not so different from Trevor Linden. He was a big strapping center whose game was defined by hard work. He was a two way center who had blossomed in the second half of the season in his draft year. He was sold to patient Canucks fans as an answer to Calgary's behemoth Joel Otto, who for years ate up Vancouver's tiny centers.

Ultimately, however, Murphy would never make much of an impact in the NHL. His strong finish in his draft year proved to be a high point of his promise. Once he turned pro his plodding skating held him back. He also lacked creativity to be an offensive presence.

Regardless, Murphy did spend 8 seasons in the minor leagues. Over 3 seasons he got into 60 games with the Canucks, but was left exposed in the 1992 Expansion draft. The Ottawa Senators claimed Murphy and used him for 44 games. He the signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Kings organization but he spent all but 8 games in the next three years in the minor leagues.

Murphy moved to Germany in 1997 where he played for 6 seasons. He returned to Canada after he hung up his blades, and started doing some TV and radio work for the Ottawa Senators. He later worked for the team as a scout before scouting for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Murphy appeared in 125 NHL games, recording 9 goals and 12 assists for 21 points, along with 152 penalty minutes.

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