Ryan Murray won a bronze medal with Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship and was looking forward to adding to his hardware collection this winter.
However, now that -- and all other hockey activity -- will be put on hold as the Columbus Blue Jackets prized prospect soon will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson announced Tuesday that Murray, the second pick of the 2012 NHL Draft, will have surgery within the next two-to-three weeks after sustaining the injury during a game Nov. 16.
"Obviously this is disappointing," Howson said. "We have to move forward now. We have a clear answer on what needs to be done. We'll make sure he gets the proper medical care and attention, and we'll get him healthy as soon as we can. He's a huge part of our franchise."
Murray, a defenseman with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, had 17 points in 23 games before his injury two weeks ago. In a game with the Victoria Royals, he collided with Logan Nelson, and as Murray put his left arm behind him to break his fall, he said he felt his shoulder pop out of the joint.
"I kind of hit him awkwardly, I guess, and fell down to the ice," Murray told the Blue Jackets' website. "As soon as my arm hit the ice, I could feel that my shoulder had popped out. It was really quick, I fell down, put my arm down and knew right away. It was kind of a freak accident."
After playing for Canada at the 2012 WJC, Murray likely would have played a major role in this year's tournament, which starts Dec. 26, in Ufa, Russia.
"Well, the timing is terrible," Murray told the Columbus Dispatch. "It sucks that I'm going to miss the World Juniors and that I'll never get that opportunity again. It's really hard to find a positive in this."
Murray said he's been having issues with his shoulder dating to last season but never paid it much attention.
"I got hit last February and I felt it kind of pull," he said. "That's when I think it started, but I didn't think anything of it. It just kind of went away. It got sore a bit in the summer when I was working out, but I tried to stay on top of it. I didn't think it was a big deal."
It certainly didn't deter his play, as the 6-foot-1, 198-pounder had 31 points in 46 games for Everett last season, and was the youngest player on Canada's World Championship team, going without a point in three games. Murray said he never discussed his shoulder issues with clubs leading up to the draft because he didn't think it was an injury.
"Obviously there was something going on with the shoulder as far back as last season," Howson told the Columbus Dispatch. "The tests prior to the draft did not reveal anything, but there was an issue in there that got worse over time. It's too bad that Ryan has to go through this, but he'll get through this and he should be 100-percent ready for next season."
However, Murray wasn't feeling the same level of comfort with his shoulder this season, and actually had an MRI exam scheduled for Nov. 20 -- four days after his injury.
"I've seen doctors throughout the year, and they thought maybe I had a torn labrum already," Murray said. "It was strong and I had range of motion, but they told me if I got hit I had a chance of dislocating it. I had good strength. It was just as strong as the other one, so the thought was that I could play through. It just got beat up worse and worse I guess.
"I had some clicking going on in there as we got deeper in the season. It was in the back of my mind that something was wrong."
The next step is fixing the problem so he's healthy for the 2013-14 season and beyond.
"It's been really disappointing," Murray said. "It's not the kind of news you want to hear, and it's going to be a long recovery time. But this surgery pretty much has to be done.
"But you've got to do what you've got to do, and I'm just going to rehab it, do the best job I can in the process and get it back to 100 percent as quickly as possible."
Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK