Blue Jackets ink Ryan Murray to two-year, $5.65-million extension

The Columbus Blue Jackets have inked Ryan Murray to a two-year, $5.65-million extension that will lock the defenseman up until the 2018-19 season. Murray, 22, has four goals and 17 points in 55 games this season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets went out and bolstered their defense earlier this season with the acquisition of Seth Jones, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen made another move Thursday to ensure his young, up-and-coming defense corps stays in tact.

The Blue Jackets announced Thursday they have signed 22-year-old blueliner Ryan Murray to a two-year contract extension worth $5.65-million. The extension will keep Murray, who was set to become a restricted free agent this off-season, under wraps until the 2018-19 season.

“Ryan Murray is a talented, smart player who has been a very steady performer on our blue line and we are extremely happy to have this deal completed,” said Kekalainen in a release.  “Ryan has earned more ice time, showed steady improvement and contributed in all situations for us throughout the season.  We look forward to his continued growth and development with our club.”

Murray’s play this season has been of the lone bright spots on a Blue Jackets team that has struggled for most of the season. Drafted second overall in 2012, it appears Murray is finally starting to come into his own and could be a cornerstone of the Blue Jackets defense for years to come.

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After missing most of 2014-15 due to knee and ankle injuries, Murray has been stellar on the Blue Jackets’ blueline. He has averaged more than 22 minutes per night for Columbus and has been a steady contributor. Through 55 games, Murray has four goals and 17 points, and is on pace to break his career-high of four goals and 21 points set during his rookie season in 2013-14.

Murray has become a fixture on the Blue Jackets’ top power play unit. If he can continue to develop as a power play quarterback, it could give Columbus a lethal power play.

Injuries have hurt Murray’s development over the past two seasons, but he hasn’t missed a single game this season. If his growth continues to trend in this direction, it bodes well for the Blue Jackets’ blueline. With Murray now locked up, Columbus’ defense will boast three solid contributors under the age of 25 in Murray, Jones and David Savard.