After a season with the Detroit Red Wings that failed to result in any NHL action, Ryan Murphy is going back to Russia. The veteran defenseman has signed a new one-year contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa for the 2022-23 season.
Murphy, 29, was the 12th overall pick back in 2011 but failed to ever really establish himself as a full-time NHL player. The offensive defenseman managed 175 games, most recently with the New Jersey Devils in 2019, but left for the KHL that year to try his hand overseas. On his return in 2021, he wore an “A” as an alternate captain with the Henderson Silver Knights and won the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s best defenseman.
Now just a year later and he’s headed back to the KHL to continue his career. With Ufa, he’ll get a chance to play under someone who has plenty of NHL experience of his own in Viktor Kozlov. He has been promoted to head coach for this season, after previously serving as an assistant.
While it has been a somewhat disappointing career so far for the former top prospect, there’s no doubt that Murphy can be a difference-maker at the KHL level. He’s also still young enough that there could be another NHL contract in his future, even if the AHL is more likely his stomping ground moving forward.