By Warren Kozireski–
Two months ago, Buffalo Sabres 2016 fourth-round draft pick Brett Murray was without a contract and virtually without a team. After leaving Penn State in 2018, he rejoined Youngstown in the USHL and was supposed to be back in college this fall with the University of Miami Ohio.
But a coaching staff overhaul changed that plan and he ended up in the Buffalo Sabres Prospect Camp trying to make an impression and earn a contract.
Murray finally came to terms on a one-year AHL deal October 2nd and the Amerks opened their regular season two days later. But it would take the 6’5”, 235 lb. left wing five games of watching from the stands before he finally broke into the line-up.
Fast forward almost four weeks later and he will be tough to remove from the line chart after he has begun his professional career with points in six of his first nine games including two goals and five assists.
“That’s what you want a young guy to do is punch a hole in the line-up,” Rochester interim head coach Gord Dineen said. “He’s done that and really fit in well with Kevin Porter and Andrew Oglivie. They seem to have a lot of chemistry.
“He’s been great along the walls, he uses his size to his advantage and a lot of the time with big guys you have coax them to get their feet moving, but he’s really got his feet moving and is a hard guy to play against.”
Murray, from Bolton, Ontario north of Toronto, has put up solid offensive numbers everywhere except his two partial seasons at Penn State. He racked up 20 points in 27 USHL games during his first stint in Youngstown in 2016-17 and last season exploded with 41 goals and 35 assists in 62 games in his return there. He also spent the 2015-16 junior season with Carleton in the CCHL with 46 points in 48 games.
He scored his first professional goal Oct. 23 versus Hershey and he has now moved his way onto one of the top forward lines in Rochester in a relatively short period of time.
“I feel pretty confident,” Murray said after a Nov. 13 contest. “It’s nice to put anything on the scoresheet other than a minus.
“I just work hard. I got my opportunity in Utica (Oct. 19) for my first game there and I felt good. I think I work hard in practice every day and it’s paying off and I’m going to just keep doing it.”