The Lightning announced their roster for the upcoming rookie tournament. The vast majority of the roster is made up of Lightning draft picks, plus one player acquired by trade (Daniel Walcott) and two invitees; David Henley and Jordan Murray. NCAA bound prospects and prospects playing in Europe will not be attending with the roster made up of players that will be playing in one of the three CHL leagues, the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch or possibly in the ECHL.
Henley took part in the Lightning’s development camp shortly after the draft as an invitee with the Lightning only having 7 draftee defensemen to bring to the camp. For rookie camp, the Lightning will only have 7 defenseman on the roster, but were not able to bring in Jonathan MacLeod or Ryan Zuhlsdorf as they are NCAA players. That opened up a spot for Murray to take part in the camp.
Most of the players that will be in rookie camp and playing in the tournament are already known to serious Lightning fans that follow the organization beyond the NHL level. So today, we’ll focus on the two invitees since we’ve had limited exposure to both players.
Henley is a 6’4″ 207 pound left handed defenseman. He is 19 years old and was born in Val-d’Or, Quebec, Canada. He has played three seasons in the QMJHL, first starting with the Val-d’Or Foreurs in 2013-14 before being sent to the Charlottetown Islanders mid-season. Val d’Or reacquired Henley mid-season last year.
In 185 games in the QMJHL, he has put up 34 points and 317 penalty minutes. While he is a negative-15 overall in his career, he was a plus-18 with Val-d’Or in 29 games to close out the season. His career high in points is 18 points set last season. He is not an offensive defenseman by any stretch, but is more of a stay at home guy that plays with a physical edge.
He got some public exposure due to this big hit on Nikolai Ehlers. The fight with Meier is a decent one after with Henley landing a couple decent shots, but Meier ultimately wins the fight with a hard right.
Also check out this draft profile by John Moore on Henley back in 2015.
Henley has gone through the draft twice now and gone undrafted both times. It’s unlikely the Lightning will sign him to an entry level contract before the season. The Lightning must see something in him and the way he plays though to give him the opportunity to come in to rookie camp, get instruction, and play in the tournament. The Lightning are sure to keep their eye on him through the season though and if he continues to develop, perhaps he could earn a contract to be a depth defenseman for Syracuse.
At 23 years old, Murray is the 2nd oldest player coming to rookie camp as he is a month younger than Adam Wilcox. Murray spent three years in the QMJHL playing two years for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and one year for the Drummondville Voltigeurs. In 186 games, he had 95 points. His best year was his final year in the QMJHL with Drummondville as he scored 56 points in 64 games.
The past three seasons, Murray has played for the University of New Brunswick in the CIS, which is Canada’s version of the NCAA. CIS plays shorter seasons and so Murray has only had 81 games over three seasons and has put up 71 points in that span. The Lightning list his size at 6’1″ and 205 pounds.
Murray certainly shows more offensive ability from the blue line and he is an intriguing camp choice. He’ll have an opportunity in this camp to impress the coaching staff and the front office. As one of the older players on the roster, he has a lot of experience that he can use to his advantage. While an entry level contract might seem unlikely for Murray, there’s the possibility that the Lightning could offer him an AHL contract and have him play for the Kalamazoo Wings. He would be a top defenseman option for the K-Wings and would be available for recall to the Syracuse Crunch in the event of injuries.
However, Murray can still return to the University of New Brunswick and play out his eligibility there if he would prefer to not turn pro yet or if the Lightning do not offer him a contract.