Monday, July 27, 2015

Ryan Murray Swatch Card

It was exactly a year ago that I first featured Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray and, well, the second-overall pick of the 2012 draft has yet to shake the injury bug; then again, so do the rest of the Jackets, who lost 508-man-games to injury in 2014-15.

Murray himself only played 12 games last year, and was even injured when teammate Ryan Johansen fell on him. As far as hard luck goes, that's pretty bad. It's even got GM Jarmo Kekalainen worried about his missing out on very important development years.

The irony of the ''most NHL-ready player'' from the 2012 draft being limited to 78 games since because of three injury-plagued seasons and a lockout just means we'll have to wait an extra year for him to reach his prime, in my opinion, which will probably be three or four years from now. Of course, that'll probably mean at least one ugly contract dispute with Columbus, but it's not like they're not used to it by now.

To speed things up, the Jackets made a wealth of changes this summer (and since last year's trade deadline, really) and are mostly seen as one of the most improved teams in the NHL... on paper. Notable additions include Brandon Saad and Greg Campbell, but their defense will remain their biggest question mark, at least until Murray claims the mantle as the go-to guy.

Here he is sporting the Blue Jackets' dark blue (home) uniform with a matching ''event-worn material'' swatch, from Panini's 2013-14 Totally Certified set (card #RR-RMR of the Rookie Roll Call and Dual Rookie Class sub-sets):
We'll see this year if 2014-15 was simply a fluke occurrence or the sign of a cursed franchise - and of its prized blue-chip blue-liner.

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