Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ryan Murray Autograph Card

As I mentioned last week on this Guillaume Latendresse card, I believe Scratching The Surface is the best-looking autograph sub-set in hockey, and while the Latendresse card featured the 2010-11 version, they kept most of the design intact with just a few tweaks for this 2013-14 Crown Royale set by Panini, represented by this Ryan Murray card:
They just added silver borders (which look like dark grey on the scan) and congratulated themselves on a job well done, I guess. Sure, we don't see much of the Columbus Blue Jackets' crest or the white (away) uniform in the picture, but it appears twice on the signature/ice surface, and that's enough.

When the Jackets made Murray the second-overall pick in 2012, the consensus was that he may not be the player with the most ''upside'' (i.e. room for improvement, particularly on offense), but was the most ''NHL-ready'' of the crop; it's too bad, then, that the lock-out and an untimely injury forced him out of pretty much the entire 2012-13 campaign. He still managed to accumulate 17 points in 23 games with his WHL team - the Everett Silvertips - and resumed the captaincy he'd gained the previous year, but it was a bit of a letdown.

For the record, eight players chosen after him now have more NHL experience than he does, and one of them - Tanner Pearson, chosen 30th - even has a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings. But Murray got ''adult'' international hardware before they did, having won the bronze with Team Canada at the 2012 World Championships a month before even being drafted, becoming the second-youngest of all time to dress for Canada at the event, behind Paul Kariya.

The Jackets view him as a potential future captain, but perhaps they'll give it to Brandon Dubinsky first, until Murray has the time to age and mature. He got 4 goals and 21 points in 66 games as a rookie this past year, which bodes well for the future.

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