What's going on with Ryan Murphy? I was thinking he'd be able to come in and help the D this season but I haven't heard much about him recently.
Also, what do you think the top 6 will look like? The team seems somewhat high on the idea of the Staals being on the same line but I'm skeptical about that.
Murphy says he wants to make the NHL this year and the scouting staff seems to be pretty high on him but I think it's best if he stays another year in Kitchener. He is probably a third pairing defenseman at the NHL level right now and Carolina has too many of those players right now. The Canes will get better value for him in the long run if he stays in junior for another year but that could change if he has a good camp/pre-season and looks good enough to play in the top-four. I would expect him to get the 8 game NHL test before the team makes a final decision on him, though.
I think the Staals will be separated since that's what makes the most sense. Eric doesn't have much experience playing on the wing aside from the Olympics and having Jordan center the second line plays more to his strengths for now. He will basically take over Sutter's role as the tough-minute center but provide a lot more offense. My guess is that the top two lines will look something like this.
Ruutu - E. Staal - Skinner
Jokinen - J. Staal - Semin
The wingers are probably interchangeable throughout the year, though.