Ryan Murray playing against the Regina Pats on October 13th, 2012. Joel Gasson/CJME
He'd rather be in Columbus, but White City native Ryan Murray is making the most of the NHL lockout.
It was a big summer for Murray, he was drafted second overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL Entry Draft held in Pittsburgh,a moment he will surely never forget... however a black cloud hung over that draft. In just a few months the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHLPA was set to expire, and if a deal wasn't reached, the league said it would lockout it's players.
Here we are now in the middle of October, in what should have been the first weekend of the NHL's regular season. Instead, arenas sit dark. NHLers are scattered all over the world right now trying to keep sharp. For Murray, he thankfully had a place to play no matter what happened, and that's with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL, who were in Regina on Saturday night.
"I was skating down in Minnesota for a while, and there is a bunch of guys who didn't know what they were doing to do," said Murray after the game . "I think some of them are still scrimmaging and working out everyday."
It's not the situation Murray wants, as he probably had a pretty good shot at making the woeful Blue Jackets this season, but he's not really thinking about that right now.
"Trying to make the most of my time here," said Murray. "If the lock out ends and I get an opportunity in Columbus, that's great."
By being back in junior hockey Murray has a pretty good opportunity to improve on some of the skills that made him a second overall pick, something he might not of been able to do in the NHL, as it can always be a touch a go situation for rookie defensemen in the big leagues.
"I want to work on my offensive game here," said Murray. "It's an opportunity for me to excel in that department."
Murray does still have a little bit of work to do in that department, as he's on pace so far to basically match last season with 32 points. His best year came in 2010-11 when he had 46 points.
Being back in junior will make sure that Murray logs a lot of ice time this season too, something that wouldn't of been a guarantee in the NHL.
Returning to the WHL also gave Murray one last chance to play in front of basically his home town crowd.
"It's always nice, we only make this swing once every two years," said Murray. "It's good to play in front of family and friends."
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