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On Tuesday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced via the team's official website that the club has come to terms with defenseman Ryan Murray on a three-year, entry-level contract. Murray was the team's top pick in June's Entry Draft when he was taken with the No. 2 overall selection.
Via press release from the Blue Jackets:
A native of White City, Saskatchewan, Murray recorded 6-40-46, 45 penalty minutes and was +18 in 70 games with Everett in 2010-11. He led the team in assists and plus/minus rating and was third in points, while leading club defensemen in goals (tied) and points. He notched 5-22-27 with 31 penalty minutes and was +33 in 52 games in 2009-10 for Everett and was named the team's Rookie of the Year.
When it was reported on Monday morning by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that Scott Howson and the Columbus Blue Jackets turned down a trade proposal from the New York Islanders that would have sent the No. 2 overall draft pick to the Isles in exchange for the team's entire draft class, every one was left dumbfounded as to why the club wouldn't jump at the offer.
However, Elliot Friedman of CBC has come up with a rational as to why it made more sense to turn down the offer and keep the No. 2 overall pick.
But what else do you get with those picks? Not much, if history is any indication. From 1990-2008, there were 114 players selected in spots numbered 34, 65, 103, 125, 155 and 185. Do you know how many played 400 NHL games?
What Friedman is getting at is that the Blue Jackets wanted Ryan Murray and now they have him. Had they taken the picks maybe they get a player or two out of it that can play a few years, where as Murray potentially could be a franchise defender for the next 15 years.
Will that stop the criticism of Howson? Probably not.
However, if Murray reaches his potential it certainly will. If he doesn't, well, Howson will be forever linked to this proposed deal and the 'what ifs' that will come along with it.
The Columbus Blue Jackets wrapped up their draft along with everyone else and most feel as though they're in a very good position. Of course, that's not necessarily due to the draft as a whole, but more so due to the fact that they grabbed Ryan Murray with the No. 2 overall pick.
Murray is an excellent defenseman and will likely be playing at the top level sooner rather than later. But Murray almost didn't go to the Blue Jackets. According to the Columbus Dispatch, with a H/T to the SB Nation mothership, the Blue Jackets were almost involved in a terrible trade with the New York Islanders.
It's terrible due to how ludicrous the whole thing was. The Islanders were going to send their entire draft to Columbus for the right to draft Murray at No. 2. It's absolutely insane that New York felt that Murray was worth picks No. 4, 34, 65, 103, 125, 155 and 185, but do you know what's even more insane?
The fact that the Blue Jackets felt that Murray was worth more. Many had Nail Yakupov as the top pick in the draft. Rather - everybody had Yakupov as the top pick in the draft. Except for, apparently, the Blue Jackets, who reportedly would have taken Murray over Yakupov, and apparently over seven other draft picks.
It really is crazy to think that Columbus wouldn't be willing to drop two spots to get all those other picks, but at the very least, they walked away with their guy. Or did they? As The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Blue Jackets fired four scouts immediately following the draft. Brian Bates, Andrew Shaw, Artem Telepin and John Williams were let go.
Needless to say, nobody really has any idea what the Blue Jackets are doing.
There were really only two things that people expected the Columbus Blue Jackets to do on Friday with their second overall pick in the NHL Draft. There was a lot of speculation that the pick would be traded, but most people expected them to select either defenseman Ryan Murray or forward Nail Yakupov, depending which one fell to them after Edmonton's first selection.
Murray ended up falling to them and they apparently couldn't find a trade partner, so the big defenseman ended up being the cornerstone of Columbus' draft. SB Nation's 2012 NHL Draft Grades give the Jackets high marks for that pick, but question the lack of ability by Columbus to deal Rick Nash for anything of substance on draft day:
Columbus Blue Jackets: Though GM Scott Howson made a solid selection in Ryan Murray, the lack of action on a Rick Nash trade is likely to haunt him through the draft and into July 1. Addressing their need for a goaltender by trading for Sergei Bobrovsky, his next target is expected to be additional scoring depth. B-
No matter what they did on draft day, the Jackets were going to be left lacking a bit. They're a team in need of a lot of pieces and it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a very, very busy off season in Columbus.
With their final two picks in the 2012 draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets selected right winger Daniel Zaar from Sweden and Candian defenseman Gianluca Curcuruto. The team focused heavily on rebuilding its defense this year, with Zaar and fourth-round pick Josh Anderson the only offensive players taken in the draft. That's probably not a bad strategy, as the team ranked 28th in goals against per game last season, with 3.13.
The 5-foot-11, 167-pound Zaar spent last year on Rogle BK's junior squad, where he recorded 14 goals and 24 assists in 44 games. He was the team's sixth-round selection, 152nd overall.
Curcuruto played the last two seasons with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, where he scored four goals and 38 assists over the course of 119 games. He previously won a gold medal as part of Team Ontario at the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He was taken in the seventh round, 182nd overall.
The Columbus Blue Jackets turned their attention to the offense in the fourth round of the NHL Draft, selecting Canadian left winger Josh Anderson with the 95th overall pick.
After using their first three round to select a defenseman and a pair of goaltenders, the Blue Jackets added the 18-year old Anderson who played for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League this past season. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Anderson scored 12 goals and added 10 assists in 64 games with London.
Here is what The Hockey Writers had to say about Anderson's season with the Knights.
He may have struggled with issues of consistent point production but his defensive play remained intact. He had a positive plus-minus or was even in many games; he finished the season with a +17. One of his best months came in February of 2012, when he recorded six points - including five goals - in 11 games. Anderson finished the season with 22 points (12 goals, ten assists) and 34 penalty minutes in 64 games. With many of the Knights' top players graduating or on the cusp of graduation, Anderson will be counted upon to have a bigger role in 2012-13.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are suddenly stocking up on goaltenders as they selected Joonas Korpisalo from Finland in the third round of the NHL Draft after taking Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk in the second round.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Korpisalo has been playing junior hockey in his native Finland where he played for Jokerit Jr. in Helsinki this past season. In 38 games, the 18-year old Korpisalo had a .920 save percentage and a 2.04 goals against average.
Here is what The Hockey Writers had to report about Korpisalo as a goaltender prospect.
Korpisalo has been lauded for his athleticism, speed and professional build. He is also highly thought of his ability to make highlight reel saves, especially one he made on a Brendan Gaunce penalty shot in the bronze medal final of the World Under-18s. Korpisalo is also highly lauded based on his personality. His happy-go-lucky nature and his good sense of humour have made him very popular with his coaches and with members of the media.
With the No. 1 pick in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets filled a need by selecting Swedish goalie Oscar Dansk, the third overall goaltender selected in the draft.
The 6-foot-2, 186-pound net minder has been playing junior hockey in Sweden with Brynas Junior but plans to begin playing in North America on his way to eventually joining the Blue Jackets in the NHL. Dansk is familiar with North American hockey having also played three years at the Shattuck St. Mary's High School in Minnesota. Here is what The Hockey Writers had to say about Dansk.
Dansk employs the butterfly style and is a very quick goalie that possesses good lateral movements. The goalie's quickness helps him to stay in many plays and allows him to make saves that other goalies might not be too adept at making or even attempting. Some of the knocks against Dansk's style of play might be that he wanders out of his net a bit too much and might not have great rebound control, but both of the aforementioned weaknesses can be improved upon with some solid mentoring. While Dansk's ability to stay in a lot of plays can be attributed to the goalie's solid technique and calm demeanor, the netminder's movements seem to be very well calculated and extremely efficient. Dansk might not be the tallest or biggest goalie, but his reflexes and hockey IQ make him very difficult to beat, even when the opposition has a legitimate scoring chance.
The Columbus Blue Jackets' blue line is about to get even better. On Friday night, the Blue Jackets selected Ryan Murray with the second pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. A defenseman from the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, Murray was a consensus as the second-best player available in the draft.
The Cannon, SB Nation's Columbus Blue Jackets blog, discussed in greater detail how Murray boost the team's defense:
The Jackets have been steadily upgrading their defense over the past couple seasons, and Murray is the latest addition to what is becoming a great looking unit. He is known for his steady play and leadership abilities. Most impressively, he was only the second junior-aged player to play for Team Canada at the Men's World Hockey Championship. He is generally considered to be NHL-ready, and the consensus is that he is wise beyond his years.
He won't wow you with his play, but he plays a solid, safe game.
Still, solid players are needed for the foundation of solid team.
With the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Columbus Blue Jackets beefed up their defensive unit even further by taking Ryan Murray of the Western Hockey League's Everett Silvertips.
The 6-foot, 185 pound lefty tallied 31 points in 46 games for the Silvertips this season, and was widely considered the No. 2 available player in the draft behind No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov. Murray is a two-way defender with a smart, heady style and the unshakeable toughness to deal with the day-to-day grind of an NHL season right away.
He represented Team Canada at the World Championships earlier this year, and became the youngest player to play in the tournament since Paul Kariya. Though he does not project as an elite blue line scorer in the pros, Murray is an adept passer and should have a lengthy, productive career.
A little over an hour after TSN insider Darren Dreger reported that the Columbus Blue Jackets had acquired goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the Philadelphia Flyers for three draft picks, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson confirmed the trade and addressed the goaltender postion moving forward.
Via Aaron Portzline's Puck-Rakers Blog:
"(Bobrovsky) has won in the league," Howson said. "He had a great first season (2010-11), he's won over 40 games in the league. I think he has the potential to be a very good NHL goalie. He's still a young goalie.
"We now have two NHL goalies who have a chance to be No. 1 goaltenders, and we're going to see how it plays out."
Howson brushed off Bobrovsky's rocky sophomore season and credits the regression to his having to play second fiddle to the Flyers clear-cut starter Ilya Bryzgalov.
While Howson expressed a vote of confidence for Bobrovsky, he still left the door open to acquiring another goaltender prior to the end of the weekend. However, he made it clear that he was comfortable entering the 2012-13 season with Bobrovsky and Steve Mason as his goaltenders.
On Friday afternoon, it was reported by TSN insider Darren Dreger that the Columbus Blue Jackets had come to terms on a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers that would send Flyers backup goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets for undisclosed draft picks.
In addition to Dreger, Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch has also stated that the deal has been reached and reported that the Blue Jackets will be sending the No. 45 overall selection in Friday's entry draft to the Flyers in addition to two other picks for Bobrovsky.
A few moments later, Dreger reported that in addition to the No. 45 overall pick, the Blue Jackets were also packaging the No. 117 overall selection (a fourth rounder from the Vancouver Canucks) in this year's draft as well as a fourth-rounder in the 2013 draft, which the team had acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes.
Bobrovsky to CBJ for 45 and 117 this year and 4th rd. (PHX) next year.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 22, 2012
While much of the speculation over the last few days has circled around the Blue Jackets and Flyers working on a deal, the discussions largely centered around speculation about Rick Nash and James van Riemsdyk with Bobrovsky possibly being included as an additional piece.
For now, it seems Bobrovsky is the only one on the move.
Hearing Bobrovsky to Columbus for draft picks. Working on details.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 22, 2012
Coming into this offseason, it was clear that the Blue Jackets wanted to improve their depth at the goaltender position and Philadelphia has been in the market to move Bobrovsky since signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a massive nine-year, $51-million contract last offseason.
Bobrovsky has one year remaining on a three-year, $2.7 million contract ($1.75 million cap-hit) that will leave the 23-year old goaltender as a restricted free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season.
The NHL Draft begins on Friday, and will most likely begin with the Edmonton Oilers selecting Nail Yakupov. The right winger out of the Sarnia Sting is considered widely to be the best player in the draft, and will either be going to Edmonton or a team that trades up to the first overall selection.
There might be another chance for a trade right after that, with the Columbus Blue Jackets holding the second overall pick. It's considered to be a very deep draft this year, so the Jackets may look to stockpile more than one first round pick, even if it's lower in the round. Trade rumors have been swirling about Columbus' pick for weeks now with no real front runner for the pick if the Jackets keep it.
They do need help all over the ice though, so more picks could be a better idea in the long run for the Blue Jackets.
Here's the details of the 2012 draft:
Date: Friday, June 22 (first round) and Saturday, June 23 (second through seventh rounds)
Where: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Time: Friday - 7:00 p.m. ET, Saturday - 10:00 a.m. ET
TV: Friday - NBC Sports Network, TSN (Canada), Saturday - NHL Network
Radio: NHL Home Ice SiriusXM: Ch. 92 (Sirius 207)
The Columbus Blue Jackets are so close, yet so far from adding a potential superstar to their offensive attack. Winger Nail Yakupov is the consensus top pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and expected to be taken No. 1 overall by the Edmonton Oilers, just one pick in front of Columbus.
The Blue Jackets will then be on the clock with the second overall pick in the draft, scheduled to start on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. GM Scott Howson will keep the No. 2 pick on the trading table until Columbus is on the clock, but if they hold onto the pick, most mocks expect Swedish center Filip Forsberg to be the pick, a player who could certainly add a superstar scoring threat to the Blue Jackets.
As for the rest of the draft, Columbus has the first (31st overall) and 15th (45th overall) picks in the second round, the first pick (62nd overall) in the third round, the fourth (95th overall) and 26th (117th overall) picks in the fourth round, and then the first picks in the sixth round (152nd overall) and seventh round (182nd overall).
A complete draft listing for all teams can be found here.
From the ESPN piece:
His size/skating ratio is very good, and early in the season some made the case that the Swedish center should go No. 1 overall, particularly given his position. With Rick Nash likely out the door, selecting Forsberg allows the Jackets to rebuild down the middle, adds some depth behind rookie Ryan Johansen...
SB Nation's NHL Mock Draft also has the Blue Jackets taking the 17-year-old Forsberg, who is not related to former NHL player Peter Forsberg.
The ESPN piece mentions that Columbus might be inclined to take Russian Nail Yakupov at No. 2, but adds that past experiences with Russian draft picks -- coupled with Forsberg's talent -- will probably prevent that from happening.
The first round will be held Friday night, with Rounds 2 through 7 taking place Saturday.
The 2012 NHL Draft is just one week away, and the anticipation around how the first round will unfold is running high. The Columbus Blue Jackets have the second pick in the draft. On Friday, reports of a possible trade circulated, but until a deal actually happens, mock drafts can still attempt to project which player the Blue Jackets might select to bolster their sagging fortunes.
The latest 2012 NHL Mock Draft from SB Nation projects the Blue Jackets to take Filip Forsberg, a forward from Leksands IF in Sweden's Allsvenskan.
Here is the reasoning for the pick from The Cannon, SB Nation's Blue Jackets blog:
Forsberg is the top European skater in this draft, and has the size/frame, speed, and stick skills to make him a potential future star in the NHL. Forsberg is admittedly raw at just age 17, but took home many positive reviews from his play.
For the other picks in the mock draft, see this StoryStream.
The draft will be held in Pittsburgh on June 22 and 23.
For more on the Columbus Blue Jackets, head over to The Cannon. More news and analysis on the upcoming NHL Draft as well as the entire world of hockey can be found over at SB Nation's dedicated NHL hub.
GM Scott Howson of the Columbus Blue Jackets reportedly might trade the second overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft.
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