Douglas Murray becomes fifth Shark to return to North America

Following in the footsteps of four teammates, Douglas Murray appears to be coming back to North America after spending the lockout in Sweden's second-tier professional league.

In the past week alone, T.J. Galiardi, Logan Couture, Antti Niemi and Martin Havlat have all returned to North America from the European outposts in which they were spending the lockout. You can now add Douglas Murray to that list, if a report out of Sweden is to be believed.

The report itself is in Swedish but through the magic of Google Translate, it appears to say that after 14 games with second-tier club Djurgårdens IF, Murray has decided to leave his native Sweden and return to the United States. A quote from the physical Sharks defenseman is somewhat more difficult to translate but it seems to indicate that he doesn't plan to go back to Sweden for the time being and is hopeful about an end to the lockout.

While we can hope the mere fact that five Sharks have made the trip back over the Atlantic in the past few days is another sign we're on the brink of an NHL season, their reasons for doing so have been pretty disparate. Couture and Havlat are back for family reasons while Galiardi was injured in Germany. Still, it's undeniable the league and union have made significant progress in the past 24 hours and it probably isn't too much of a stretch to say that a deal to end the lockout is imminent. It looks like most of the Sharks will be ready to go if that's the case.