Out with the old, in with the new.
In the wake of Rick Nash being traded to the New York Rangers on Monday, Columbus Blue Jackets General Manager Scott Howson announced that 2012 NHL Draft first round pick Ryan Murray had been signed to a standard three-year, entry-level contract on Tuesday. Murray, the draft’s second overall pick, completes a trifecta of this year’s top draft picks with entry-level contracts: first overall draft pick Nail Yakupov and third overall pick Alex Galchenyuk both signed their contracts on Monday with the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens respectively.
The 18-year-old defenseman from White City, Saskatchewan was a standout on the Western Hockey League‘s Everett Silvertips, where he was named Rookie of the Year for the 2009-10 season with his 5-22-27, +33 and 31 PIM in 52 games. In the 2010-11 season he registered 6-40-46 with a +18 and 45 PIM in 70 games, and the 2011-12 season saw him record 9-22-31 and 31 PIM in 46 games, giving him top honors among defensemen on the team in goals, assists and points. He was also a member of Canada’s bronze-medal winning team at the 2012 World Junior Championships and was on the Canadian team at the 2012 World Championships.
Many hockey writers speculated as early as the draft that Murray could make the Blue Jackets roster right out of training camp in September. At the recent Blue Jackets development camp, held the first week of July, he was one of the big standouts with his speed, agility, puck handling skills and effortless defensive moves. If his performance at camp is any indication, fans may just see him playing at Nationwide Arena this fall, and his presence may very well bolster the team and give them the confidence they need to win.