Everett Silvertips fans had a lot to cheer about tonight as they watched star defenseman Ryan Murray selected #2 overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh. The 18 year old has played with skill and passion since joining the team full time during the 2009-2010 season and cementing a leadership role on the 'Tips defensive line and earning the Captainship age 17 in his second season with the team. Murray has 104 career points with the Silvertips in 168 games (20 goals, 84 assists) and a +/- rating of a whopping +51.
The fan favorite has also been a favorite with NHL scouts, who had opportunities to watch him in action on several fronts: with the Silvertips, and as part of Team Canada at the World Juniors (which won the Bronze medal) and as one of the youngest players to represent Canada at the World Championships.
In a news release, Columbus Blue Jackets Vice President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Scott Howson had this to say about Murray, "He solidifies what we believe is a position of strength. His character and two-way play will be very valuable to our hockey club."
Murray becomes the highest drafted player in Everett's history. Forwards Peter Mueller, Zach Hamill and Kyle Beach were also drafted in the top 20 (Mueller went #8 in 2006 to the Phoenix Coyotes; Hamill went #8 in 2007 to the Boston Bruins and Beach went #11 in 2008 to the Chicago Blackhawks).
Silvertips fans will continue watching NHL Draft coverage tomorrow, to see which team picks up defenseman Nick Walters.
Click here to read a blog Ryan Murray has been writing about his NHL draft experience.
Nail Yakupov, a RW from the Sarnia Sting (OHL), went first overall to the Edmonton Oilers. He's the first Russian-born player to be drafted first since 2004, when the Washington Capitals took Alexander Ovechkin with the first pick.
Here's a recap of the Top Ten draft picks:
- Edmonton Oilers: Nail Yakupov/RW Sarnia Sting (OHL)
- Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Murray/D Everett Silvertips (WHL)
- Montreal Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk/C Sarnia Sting (OHL)
- New York Islanders: Griffin Reinhart/D Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly/D Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
- Anaheim Ducks: Hampus Lindholm/D Roble Jr. (Sweden)
- Minnesota Wild: Mathew Dumba/D Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
- Pittsburgh Penguins: Derrick Pouliot/D Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
- Winnipeg Jets: Jacob Trouba/D USA U-18 (US West)
- Tampa Bay Lightning: Slater Koekkoek/D Peterborough Petes (OHL)
(To check out the entire first round, click here)
Eight of the Top Ten draft picks are defensemen. Five are from the WHL (Western Hockey League).