The following is a recap of Howson's media session:
When you saw Murray fall to No. 2, did that end the discussion of trading the pick?
"We got a very attractive offer to move off, too, and we just said no. We got another offer from the same team and we said no again. They kept coming, but we were locked in on Ryan Murray. He was No. 1 on our list and that's the guy we wanted to take."
Would you have accepted the trade offers had Murray been chosen first overall?
Did you have a deal in place before the draft, should Murray go first?
"I had a tentative deal in place if Murray was gone. It's never a deal until it's done, but the framework was there, yeah."
Did all Rick Nash talk stop during the draft?
How much did you talk to (former Silvertips coach w/Murray) Craig Hartsburg before you made the decision?
"I talked to him briefly on the phone, but we had an hour lunch yesterday and talked a lot about Ryan Murray there. Anyone that's come in contact with Ryan just raves about him. It wasn't a hard decision at all."
How exciting is it to add a player like Ryan to an already-strong group of defensemen?
"It's certainly the strongest part of our team, and I think it's crucial to win in the NHL from the back end out. We added a goalie today, so hopefully we're getting a little sturdier in the defensive zone and in defending. Now we're going to have to address how we score."
Is Bobrovsky a player you had interest in for a while?
"Yeah. I've talked to (Flyers GM Paul Holmgren) about him for the last month. After the season ended, he said he might be moving him and we had some interest, and these things go back and forth. We got really serious the last three or four days. Especially as the goaltending market started to dwindle -- Lindback got traded, Harding re-signed...so the options started to become more and more limited."
Does Murray have a chance to be an NHL player this year?
"It's hard to say. I think he's got a chance. I think if you talk to people, most of the people I talked to said Yakupov and Murray were the guys that had the greatest chance to play in the league (this year). But hey, that's going to be decided by him in training camp. It's as simple as that."
Do you see offensive upside with Murray?
"I think he has that potential, yes. It's not his whole calling card, but he can still be a really useful player if he doesn't generate a lot of points. But it can be there. I think that's a little of an unknown with how much offense is he going to give you in the NHL."
Did anything make you think about keeping this year's 30th pick (from LA)?
"We were going right down to the wire. Dean (Lombardi) was calling me at 26, 27 and I said we've got to wait. There were two players that we wanted to see if they fall at 28 and then we might take the gamble thinking they might be there at 30 or 31. As it turned out, one of them was gone, so it made the decision easy after a certain pick."
What are some of the impressive qualities about Murray that made him stand out?
"Probably pedigree. Hockey sense, intangibles, character, leadership. I think they're all good players. It's not something you easily decide, but it became pretty clear to us."
Have you ever seen a crop of defensemen this deep?
"It reminded me of the Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo and Schenn draft at the top. I think six of the first eight were defensemen or something like that. That's a lot of defensemen, especially when the trend recently has been to go after forwards early because they tend to play earlier. This was a unique draft in that way."
How much activity do you expect on the 31st pick?
"I've already had two offers. We'll consider anything, yeah. I will say there's a player there that we're pretty excited about."
UPDATE: This just in from Blue Jackets public relations -- the club has elected to defer, and will use the Los Angeles Kings' first-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft. They had the option to use the first-rounder in either 2012 or 2013, per the conditions of the Jack Johnson-Jeff Carter trade in February.
The Blue Jackets' next pick in the 2012 NHL Draft is 31st overall, which will open the second round tomorrow morning.
Stay tuned for more information later tonight.
PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Murray couldn't get out of his chair fast enough.
Though he admitted the nerves didn't fully kick in until the Edmonton Oilers were on the clock with the first overall pick, there were anxious moments just before the Blue Jackets were on the clock to make their selection. He thought back to pre-draft meetings with Scott Howson and the Columbus scouting staff, and recalled the "all-business" approach during the interviews.
When his name was called, Murray strode to the stage and shook hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and got to meet his new hockey family.
And, as Murray said, this meeting was far more casual than the first.
"They were a lot nicer after they picked me," Murray said with a laugh.
It was a happy and proud night for Murray and his family. The 18-year-old was the consensus top defenseman in this year's draft class, and impressed scouts across the map with his smooth skating and solid play on both sides of the puck. He was the captain of the Everett Silvertips (WHL) and the club's unquestioned leader on and off the ice -- and many believe he is one of the NHL-ready prospects in this year's class.
For now, he's taking everything in stride. After all, he's been an NHL player for all of two hours, and he was thrilled to have his name called by the Blue Jackets.
"Absolutely," Murray said. "I'm really proud. I have a lot of work to do this summer. I've got to work on my game and work on getting stronger. I have a lot of hard work left to do and hopefully I'll be prepared enough to crack the lineup."
When he does eventually suit for the Blue Jackets, what kind of player can fans expect?
"I'm a two-way defenseman that can jump into the play whenever I can," Murray said. "I like to play offense, as well, but I try to take care of my own end first and foremost."
One of his new teammates that's pretty good in his own end is Marc Methot, who played with Murray at the 2012 World Hockey Championship in Europe. The tournament was bizarre (to say the least) for Murray; he was invited to the selection camp, and after a couple of injuries on Team Canada's blue line, he was forced into action as a teenager having never played against pro hockey players.
It was a great experience in terms of helping to grow his game and pick up on things the pros do, Murray said. And now that he's a member of the Blue Jackets, he knows he has six or seven solid NHL defensemen to learn from as he begins his NHL journey.
"I was only supposed to go there for about a week for the pre-competition games," Murray said. "Some guys got hurt and that kind of opened the door for me.
"It was just a great experience to go and play with those guys and practice with them, and see how they prepare themselves both on and off the ice."
NOTE: We'll have much more from tonight's first round, including comments from Howson and members of the hockey operations staff both on #CBJ.com and JacketsTV -- stay tuned to our Draft Central blog as we continue our coverage!
Ryan Murray poses on-stage with CBJ director of amateur scouting Paul Castron (left) and John H. McConnell II (right) at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
Murray slips the Blue Jackets sweater on for the first time after taking the stage.
Murray spoke with JacketsTV and several other media outlets from around the NHL during the media luncheon earlier this week.
After the luncheon, Murray and his fellow prospects posed for a neat picture atop the Empress 2 riverboat. Little did he know, he would be a #CBJ not long after!
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.
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!
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!
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."
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.