Despite concerns from his representative, Blue Jackets second overall pick Ryan Murray will report to the WHL's Everett Silvertips as early as Thursday.
Murray's agent Rick Valette is concerned that if there is an NHL lockout that lasts several months, when and if the NHL season does begin, Murray will not be allowed to join the Blue Jackets.
As reported by TSN Hockey Insider Bob Mckenzie, there is an agreement in principal between the NHL and the CHL that will allow players to join their NHL clubs should the season start late, but there may be a time limit involved.
If the lockout was to last until January or later, it may not be easy for the CHL to facilitate letting players go.
This is a major concern for Valette as Murray is generally regarded as one of the few 2012 draft choices to currently be NHL ready. Valette wants a guarantee in writing that when the NHL season gets underway, his client will be able to go to Columbus.
After an incredibly busy summer, Murray has spent the last few weeks in Minnesota training with several NHLers including Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson, awaiting word on the CBA negotiations.
Everett's season is set to open on September 22nd and with a lockout looming, Murray and his agent have decided he will report to the junior team despite no formal guarantee that he'll get his release in the event the NHL season starts late.
Other junior players with a legitimate shot at making the NHL this season finding themselves in similar situations include Doug Hamilton of the Niagara Ice Dogs, a Bruins 9th overall pick from the 2011 Entry Draft and Oilers first overall pick Nail Yakupov.
Hamilton has reported to Niagara, while Yakupov has stated his intentions to play overseas in the event of a lockout.
Other top picks such as Griffin Reinhart, Matt Dumba, Alex Galchenyuk and Morgan Rielly have all reported to their respective junior clubs.