Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray will play his 10th game of the season tonight, meaning he’ll no longer be eligible to return to junior and have a year of his entry-level contract saved.
Not that any of this is news to Murray.
The rookie blueliner was informed he’d be sticking with the team earlier this week, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Murray, 20, said GM Jarmo Kekalainen went around the dressing room and told Murray to “get a place” in Columbus, the unofficial confirmation that Murray wouldn’t be headed back to WHL Everett.
The second overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Murray has fared well for Columbus in his rookie campaign. While he’s been limited offensively — just one point through nine games — he’s looked good in other facets, averaging 16:29 TOI per contest while boasting a plus-3 rating, third-best on the team.
For further confirmation of how well Murray’s played, here’s Columbus head coach Todd Richards:
“Ryan’s made some youthful mistakes, but they come from really dominating the league he played in (Western Hockey League). Some of those are habits and you just do it, and sometimes it gets you out of position. When you’re playing at this level, with the strength and speed and size of these guys, you can’t recover.
“But there haven’t been too many of them. To me, he’s one guy who has really helped solidify our back end, which is really an impressive thing to say about a rookie.”