In mid-February, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen nixed the idea of shutting down d-man Ryan Murray, even though Murray’s missed nearly the entire campaign with knee and ankle injuries.
Today, Kekalainen stayed true to his word.
The Jackets have activated Murray off injured reserve, which means the 21-year-old is likely to play against Detroit tonight, in what would be his first game since Feb. 6.
UPDATE: Murray’s return sounds like it’ll happen on Friday against the Oilers at Nationwide, per head coach Todd Richards.
To call Murray’s year frustrating would be an understatement. His campaign has been a series of starts and stops with frequent injury interruptions, limiting him to just seven appearances — three in October, one in November, one in January and two in February. All told, he’s only appeared in 73 career games since being taken second overall at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft; the guy taken one spot after him, Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk, has played 178.
This is why Kekalainen wanted to get Murray back into the lineup this season, even though the Jackets are out of playoff contention and have little to play for. The GM recently expressed concern about just how much time his prized youngster has missed, and what it’s done to his progression.
“I’m worried about Murray in particular. Two out of three seasons, he really hasn’t played,” Kekalainen explained, per the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s all development time.
“I think as soon as he gets healthy he’s got to get back to playing.”