The Columbus Blue Jackets may have wanted the first draw of the 2012 NHL Draft, but they’re more than happy with their first pick.
General manager Scott Howson saw great things in defenseman Ryan Murray, and the young man’s junior hockey credentials certainly give reason to see that potential. In his time with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, he was their top scorer and earned 20 goals and 84 assists in 168 games. He also represented Canada at both the 2012 World Junior and 2012 IIHF World Championships.
Once the draft was over, it wasn’t long before Murray and his fellow prospects arrived in Columbus for development camp. To no one’s surprise, he was the standout among the group with his quickness and moves that could give some of today’s top defensemen a run for their money. His performance made everyone who watched – including Howson and Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards – sit up and take notice.
Based on what he saw, Howson signed Murray to a three year entry-level contract in July. Murray then continued his amazing summer at the Canada-Russia Challenge. In the third game of the four-game exhibition, he got an assist and scored a goal that tied the game in the first period. Although the series was eventually tied, he was one of the standout players on the Canadian team.
If the planets align correctly, Murray will walk into training camp and make the team. And for a team that’s starting a new chapter in their history, the fresh blood that Murray will infuse may just be what the Blue Jackets need to succeed.
ETA: 2012-13 season