The last-place Columbus Blue Jackets are hoping to strengthen their roster considerably in the 2012-13 season with some immediate assistance.
First, the club acquired goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the Philadelphia Flyers early Friday before drafting defenseman Ryan Murray No. 2 overall in the NHL Draft later that day in Pittsburgh at the Consol Energy Center.
Bobrovsky comes to the team with a .899 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average in 29 games last season in exchange for three draft picks, including Nos. 45 and 117 this year and a fourth-rounder in 2013, which was a pick acquired from Phoenix in the Antoine Vermette trade.
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Bobrovsky was stellar at the start of his Flyers career, but struggled by the end of this past season with numbers not much better than the CBJ’s embattled goalie Steve Mason, who remains on the team.
The Jackets added some more depth to its blue line with Murray, who will provide some offense to the club as a two-way defenseman.
“We are very happy to have Ryan Murray join our organization,” said Howson in a CBJ release. “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 played for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, where he scored nine goals and had 22 assists for 31 points in the 2011-12 season. He also added 31 penalty minutes in 46 games.
Murray, a native of Saskatchewan, said he’s excited to come to Columbus, but admitted not knowing much about the Midwestern city. Asked if he knew the club had cannons they fired off after goals, the 18-year-old Murray said in surprise: “Really?”
The Blue Jackets picked after the Edmonton Oilers, who selected Nail Yakupov as the No. 1 overall pick. The CBJ had an opportunity to pick 30th after acquiring a first-round conditional pick from the LA Kings in the Jack Johnson/Jeff Carter trade earlier this year. However, the club deferred that pick until 2013.
All of these moves could help a team that may be without captain Rick Nash this upcoming season. Nash remains on the trading block after the first round, with multiple reports saying it may not happen until after July 1. General manager Scott Howson has maintained from the beginning he won’t trade Nash until the right deal comes along, despite the fact Nash requested it earlier this year.
The draft continues Saturday with the Blue Jackets holding picks 31, 62, 95, 152 and 182.