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Warriors make pair of selections in WHL U.S. Prospects Draft

Moose Jaw selects defenceman Murphy from Dallas, goaltender Jones from Los Angeles in annual draft of top U.S. players
Carter Murphy WHL US Draft
The Moose Jaw Warriors selected Carter Murphy with the fourth-overall pick in the Western Hockey League U.S. Prospects Draft on Wednesday.

The Moose Jaw Warriors didn’t have much time off before the first steps toward preparing for the 2022-23 Western Hockey League season took centre stage.

In fact, given the time reviewing and preparing for the U.S. Prospects Draft on Wednesday afternoon, Warriors general manager Jason Ripplinger and his scouting crew were pretty much right back at it the day after their season ended on Friday night.

The Warriors had the fifth and 40th selection in the Draft and selected defenceman Carter Murphy from the Dallas Stars 14U Elite program before adding goaltender Kyle Jones from the Los Angeles Jr. Kings 14U.

“With the U.S. Draft, you’re obviously doing more video than watching the players on the ice because of COVID and everything, but we’re pretty happy with who we ended up selecting,” Ripplinger said.

Murphy had two goals and nine points in 17 games with the Dallas Stars 13U AAA Elite squad during the 2020-21 campaign, with no scoring information available from last season.

“With the Murphy kid, there’s a bit of history there,” Ripplinger said. “His dad (Curtis Murphy)  used to play for the Saskatoon Contacts and Nipawin Hawks and went on to a U.S. scholarship and played some pro hockey. I don’t know him personally, but played against him and stuff, so having a bit of history there and ties to Saskatchewan, we thought he’d be a good fit.

“[Carter] is a good little player, a puck-moving defenceman who plays a fast game.”

Jones brings some size to the crease, standing in at 5-foot-11 at 14-years-old and could end up being a lot taller when all is said and done.

“My contact in California, Jeff Turcotte, is a good friend of mine and coaches him and there’s just lots of upside to this kid,” Ripplinger said. “His dad’s 6-foot-7, so there’s a lot of growth to his game there size-wise. He’s an athletic goalie and very competitive.”

Both players have said they’ll be in camp this fall.

“They’re willing to come to camp and show us what they’re all about and that’s the first step,” Ripplinger said. 

Now, it’s on to the big dance.

The 2022 WHL Prospects Draft takes place Thursday and will see the Warriors with the 14th overall selection when things kick off at 9:30 a.m. on WHL.ca.

Ripplinger will hold a Zoom meeting with his scouts on Wednesday night to finalize the team’s list and after that, it’s all systems go.

“It’s pretty much written in stone and you don’t want to change too much the night before the draft, otherwise you’re contradicting yourself,” Ripplinger said of the list. “So you want to make sure you’re confident going into the Draft that your list is your list, you follow it and see where the players land.”

The good thing is the Warriors have had an entire season to check out the 2007-born players who will be selected, a far cry from how things were heading into the 2021 Prospects Draft this past December.

“We’ve been able to look at some of these 07s in October and November, so we’re able to identify them a little earlier than the 06s,” Ripplinger said. “I think we feel a little better prepared for the Draft, we’ve had a chance to get everything in instead of cramming everything. Now we’re looking forward to it and seeing who we end up with as new Moose Jaw Warriors.”

You can follow along with the WHL Prospects Draft from start to finish on www.whl.ca.