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2012 NHL Draft Prospects: Ryan Murray

Defenseman Ryan Murray is likely to be a top-five pick in this weekend's NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center, although it's not entirely clear who will take him. SB Nation's mock draft has him going at No. 5 overall to the Maple Leafs, while Sports Illustrated has him going to the Blue Jackets at No. 2. Here's SI's take.

The word every scout uses to describe him is "mature", as in "he plays a mature game." That's telling, because it suggests that with Murray, what you see is what you get. That's not to say he won't get better as he gets more experience under his belt, but there's not a lot of projection involved, either ... He won't put up big offensive numbers, but Columbus can count on him to step in immediately and eventually develop into a strong No. 2 defender. For a team that could really use some positive buzz short-term and can't afford to miss on its pick, Murray is the safest bet.

That might be a somewhat glass-half-empty way of looking at it. Jackets Cannon, SB Nation's Blue Jackets blog, sees things a bit differently.

Murray may not draw the praise and flash of Nail Yakupov, but he may be one of those rare players that comes in immediately and contributes at a high level for many, many years. Murray could be one of those guys that you just "set it and forget it," where you can just pencil him into the lineup every night.

Murray looks like a good, reliable player, though he doesn't look like a potential huge star. You can expect him to go after top prospect Nail Yakupov, but other than that, it's not entirely clear what will happen.

For much more on the NHL Draft, check out Jackets Cannon's series of NHL Draft prospect profiles.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.