POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 9:09 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray goes one-on-one with Bob McElligott of Blue Jackets radio after he was drafted second overall tonight at the NHL Draft.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 8:55 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

It's official! Ryan Murray (D) of the Everett Silvertips was selected by the Blue Jackets with the second overall pick in this year's NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. The video above is footage from Murray's media session shortly after his selection.

There's a lot to like about the 18-year-old from White City, Sask.; he's a polished, mature kid who has a ton of hockey smarts. He said he likes to join the play and create offense, but his first priority is always to make sure his own zone is taken care of.

He was the captain of the Silvertips this past season, and was also coached by newly-appointed Blue Jackets associate coach Craig Hartsburg for two seasons.

Ryan Murray poses on-stage after being selected by the Blue Jackets with the No. 2 overall pick.


The Blue Jackets connections don't stop there, either -- Murray was a member of Team Canada at the 2012 World Championship, where Marc Methot was also a participant. Murray said he hasn't yet heard from his new Columbus teammate, but he expects to touch base very soon.

Stay tuned to the blog throughout the night as we recap an exciting evening at the CONSOL Energy Center!

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 6:38 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central


The time has come.

We're less than 30 minutes away from the first pick being announced at the 2012 NHL Draft. CONSOL Energy Center is buzzing, and the players, their families, coaches, managements staff and others are making their way into the arena.

The draft tables are filling up, as well. Lots of chatter, excitement and anticipation before we get started -- did you expect anything less? This is annually one of the most intriguing events in the NHL, and this year is no different. The "controversy" atop the draft order is compelling; will the Edmonton Oilers take top-ranked Nail Yakupov with the first overall pick, or will they explore other options to address a need on defense?

What will the Blue Jackets do? Who will be available when it's their turn to pick? Keep up-to-date with everything as we get under way -- you will NOT want to miss any of the action from the draft floor!

JOIN THE BATTLE!

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 4:30 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

One of the most intriguing names near the top of the NHL Draft rankings is Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk, the Russian-American born in Milwaukee and who played alongside Nail Yakupov for a couple of seasons.

Galchenyuk seems to be the wild card among all the projected top picks, mainly due to a knee injury he suffered early in the 2011-12 season. He missed all but two regular-season games, but returned in time for the OHL playoffs. We've spoken to several people this week who said that had Galchenyuk played the entire season, he would stand a strong chance of being the No. 1 overall pick tonight at CONSOL Energy Center.

"Gally" and Yakupov are good friends and play off each other well, especially when the cameras are around. NHL Central Scouting has compared Galchenyuk's style of play to Blackhawks sniper Marian Hossa -- a strong, two-way player who can change a game in an instant.

We spent some time with Galchenyuk and had a pretty good conversation. Read his comments below, and check out the video courtesy of JacketsTV.


On the chances of him playing in the KHL:
"I'm not. There's not a chance I'll go there. I don't want to play there, I want to play in the NHL and have since I was a little kid. Everyone keeps asking me that question."

Have you had to deal with those questions because of your family name?
"A little bit. Obviously, a lot of people have asked me why I chose (to represent the U.S.) when my whole family is Russian. Like I said before, I just want to play for USA Hockey and I consider myself an American even if my parents are Russian. I was born in the States, I love the country and I want to play for them."

Galchenyuk during a 2010-11 game with the Sarnia Sting (OHL).


On assuring teams about the recovery from his knee injury:

"I did a lot of rehab and working hard in the gym. I just want to make sure the teams know that they're confident in drafting me. I think the teams that are (serious about drafting him) are confident in my knee. Whatever team I land with, when I go see the doctors they're going to say the knee looks great, and good job on the rehab."

What do you like to do away from the rink?
"I like to play XBox. Call of Duty. I'm pretty good. Sometimes go to movies...there's not a lot of things to do in Sarnia."

What part of your game is the best, in your mind?
"I think just my skillset. I see the ice and make plays in tough situations, and my passion for the game."

What do you need to work on to become an elite NHL player?
"I'm only 18 years old, and there are men playing (in the NHL). I want to become an overall, complete player and work on the small details like face-offs, and just stronger, faster, quicker...work on my strengths, too."

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 3:49 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson spoke with the media shortly after acquiring goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the Philadelphia Flyers. JacketsTV was on hand for his comments.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 2:03 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

PITTSBURGH --
One of Scott Howson’s priorities heading into this offseason was to upgrade the goaltending position, and the Blue Jackets GM believes he has made a step in that direction today.

Columbus acquired goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the Philadelphia Flyers this afternoon, mere hours before the start of the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. The 23-year-old previously spent his NHL career as the No. 2 goaltender for the Flyers, and this past season, played 26 games behind free-agent signee Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Blue Jackets saw a young goaltender with loads of talent, and opted to move on it. And with the market for goaltenders becoming thin over the past week, Howson knew the time was right to capitalize on the opportunity.

“The market is drying up a bit, in terms of those (goalies) available for trade,” Howson said. “We’ve had our eye on Sergei for a while, so it was just time to step up and make the move.

“We did a lot of work on the goaltender market. (Goaltending coach Ian Clark) is convinced that this guy has a chance to be a No. 1 goalie. We checked out his character, how hard he works and how competitive he is.”

After seeing goaltenders like Anders Lindback get traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and potential free agents such as Josh Harding re-sign with their clubs, Howson knew that time was of the essence to check a significant item off his shopping list.

He and Flyers GM Paul Holmgren had been discussing a deal for Bobrovsky for about two weeks, Howson said. They decided that a deal based on draft pick compensation was best for both parties, then agreed to a deal on Friday morning.

“It was a top priority to get (a goalie) either through trade or free agency,” Howson said. “It became a very high priority for us.”

Bobrovsky was not drafted by the Flyers, but signed to an entry-level contract in 2006 after he played for Metallurg in Russia. He turned a lot of heads during his rookie season in Philadelphia, posting 28 wins in 54 appearances, while posting a 2.59 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

With the arrival of Bryzgalov this season, playing time dipped for Bobrovsky, but he was still solid when given a chance in net. He’s regarded as a creative and athletic goaltender, who has the ability to make tough saves look easy and make saves he shouldn’t be able to.

More to come on this story as it develops.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 12:55 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

UPDATE: #CBJ fans, don't forget -- our 2012 NHL Draft radio show begins tonight at 7 p.m. on 1460 ESPN. Tune in to get the scoop on what's happening on the draft floor. The show runs until 9 p.m. and will have wall-to-wall coverage of all things draft-related!

Happy Friday, live from Pittsburgh! Thanks for following along with our NHL Draft Central blog on BlueJackets.com - we've got a TON of coverage planned for tonight's first round of the draft, from interviews, videos, breaking news and much more.

Here's a brief rundown of what we have planned today:

-- Jeff Rimer chats with Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, to be aired on JacketsTV

-- Rob Mixer's Draft Central live blog, to be updated with news and interviews throughout the day

-- Interviews with Alex Galchenyuk and Ryan Murray

-- Tweets from @BlueJacketsNHL and @RobMixer live from the draft floor!

-- Our daily recap show with Rimer and Bob McElligott following tonight's first round



Keep it tuned to the blog for your #CBJ draft coverage!

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 10:56 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.22.2012 / 10:52 AM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.21.2012 / 7:22 PM
By Rob Mixer - BlueJackets.com / CBJ Draft Central

Here are some photos from the NHL Draft week in Pittsburgh:


Top prospect Nail Yakupov takes a couple swings at batting practice today at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.




Mikhail Grigorenko and Yakupov take part in a fun game of ball hockey on the Roberto Clemente Bridge.



Yakupov, Grigorenko and Ryan Murray listen in during instructions at the prospects clinic.



American defense prospect Jacob Trouba hangs with the kids during the clinic at the Ice Castle.
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