Oct 25, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray (27) waits for play to resume during the third period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Nationwide Arena. Columbus defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

How Much Will The Jackets Miss Murray?

DCredit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackets are lacking on the blue line with three of their top defensemen out with injuries. The latest story, however, is the surgery of Ryan Murray, who is out 4-6 weeks and will likely miss the rest of the regular season. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and likely won’t play again this season. But how much will the Jackets miss him? My guess is a lot. And here’s why:

He’s a rookie with a leadership role. Murray is on a line with James Wisniewski, and is arguably the Jackets’ most reliable defenseman. He always looks alive and is on top of the play, which can’t always be said about the Jackets’ defense. He is a leader, and it shows. And he’s only 20 years old! Many Jackets fans have even been saying he deserves to be a candidate in the Calder Cup race this season.

His stats. To start off, Murray is one of only three Jackets defensemen with a positive +/- this season, with a +3, and he has three goals and 17 assists for 20 points this season. To put that into perspective, Corey Tropp and Blake Comeau together have only 21 points. Murray is a staple on the Columbus blue line, and he’ll be missed as the team tries to pull together a playoff run this season.

He Hasn’t Missed Much. The Jackets have been injury-ridden this year, and Murray has been one of the few players who hasn’t missed many games. The Jackets have played 64 games this season, and Murray has been in 61 of them. They only have five players who have played all 61 games, and Cam Atkninson has played 63, being a healthy scratch against Nashville last night. Only six players on the roster have played more games than Murray, and now he’s out for the rest of the season. They are losing a player who has been a constant presence on the roster, and that isn’t what they need right now.

Here’s to a full and speedy recovery for Murray, and here’s hoping the Jackets make it to the playoffs so we can see  him in action again!

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