Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Ryan Murray to have shoulder surgery, WHL days surely over

The worst fears regarding the rest of Ryan Murray's junior career have come to pass. There was very, very faint hope that the Columbus Blue Jackets No. 2 overall pick and captain of the Everett Silvertips had anything less than a major injury after he was injured in a WHL game nine days ago in what was called a freak incident.

It turns out the 19-year-old who was certainly captain material for Team Canada might have played his last junior game. The Blue Jackets announced he will have surgery in a few weeks.

From Aaron Portzline:

Injuries are part of the game, of course, and media types are supposed to be emotionally detached, but it's terrible to see that befall a young player with a bright hockey future. It's a significant loss of development time for Murray, which ought to be focus today, although naturally the NHL guys will centre on the Blue Jackets instead of a 19-year-old.

Again, Canada is supposed to have a deep stock of defencemen heading into this world junior. There is no understating losing Murray. It could mean his WHL contemporary, Toronto Maple Leafs first-rounder Morgan Rielly, moves into the top pairing, as Bob McKenzie suggested last week:

Team Canada will have the luxury of two returning defencemen with Hamilton and and London Knights captain Scott Harrington. The likes of Detroit Red Wings prospect Xavier Ouellet of the QMJHL's B-B Armada could round out a solid top-four.

This strikes any plan Everett had to move Murray to a contender in a MasterCard Memorial Cup year.

It could happen, but the risk for Murray to come back and play junior games after a major injury — when on merit, he perhaps should be a NHLer — seems too great. That might mean the Moose Jaw Warriors, if so inclined, could demand more for Rielly, who would stand alone as the best defenceman available.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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