When this year’s NHL Draft begins next month, the Buffalo Sabres will select second overall, marking the franchise’s highest pick since 1987. In this series at SabreNoise, we’ll take a look over the next few weeks at the second-overall selections in the NHL Draft in recent years, and what they’ve done in their time since being drafted. Today, it’s 2012 second-overall pick, Ryan Murray of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ryan Murray was one of eight defenseman picked in the top 10 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Murray was ranked second overall among North American skaters heading into that year’s draft, and the rankings would prove accurate as he was selected overall behind Sarnia Sting right winger Nail Yakupov.
Prior to the draft, Murray spent parts of four seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. He had nine goals and 22 assists in 46 regular season games with Everett, adding five points (3-2) in four playoff games.
After the draft, Murray returned to Everett for his final season in the Western Hockey League. He started off the season on a high note, notching 17 points (2-15) in 23 games. Murray also captained Team WHL against Russia in the Subway Super Series.
It would be a shortened season, however, as Murray suffered a shoulder injury on November 16, 2013 in a game against the Victoria Royals. That injury would sideline him for the rest of the season.
The 2013-2014 season would be a much better one for Murray, as he made the Columbus Blue Jackets roster from the start. Murray played his first NHL game on October 4, 2013 against the Calgary Flames.
He scored his first NHL goal three weeks later against the Toronto Maple Leafs and steadily took on more ice time, playing over 20 minutes of ice time many times in December and January.
Murray had 17 points in 61 games before suffering a knee injury in March. He had surgery and missed several weeks of action before returning to the Blue Jackets on April 4, just over one month later. Murray played out the last five regular season games with the Blue Jackets and also appeared in five playoff games with Columbus.
He finished the season with 21 points in 66 regular season games and one point in the playoffs.
Ryan Murray is considered to have been one of the top rookie defensemen this past season, and if he can stay injury-free going forward, will continue to be a steady presence in the Blue Jackets lineup.