Sabres, Coyotes could make claim for Senators goalie Matt Murray

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray makes a save as Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand looks for the rebound during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Boston. (Winslow Townson/AP)

The Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes are two possible destinations for Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray, according to Sportsnet's Jeff Marek.

Murray, who has two years remaining on his contract with a $6.25 million AAV, has had a turbulent tenure in Ottawa since arriving via trade from the Pittsburgh Penguins in October 2020.

Marek said during Saturday's 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada that although most believe Murray will clear waivers, the Sabres could be in play with Craig Anderson out week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

"I don’t want to speculate, but it doesn’t sound very good," Marek said. "We would expect the Buffalo Sabres to be very much in the goalie market sooner or later."

The Coyotes are in rebuilding mode. However, acquiring Murray and his hefty contract would help them stay above the salary cap floor.

"I don’t think anyone expects Phil Kessel to be there past trade deadline, but if they claim Matt Murray, that might help them get to the salary cap floor," Marek said. "Which, if they’re getting rid of veteran players and big contracts, they’ll need help doing so."

Murray, who won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles with Pittsburgh, posted a 10-13-1 record with a 3.38 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage last season and is winless this year at 0-5-0 with a 3.26 GAA and .890 save percentage.

The 27-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont., was also placed in COVID-10 protocol earlier this month.

Senators head coach D.J. Smith singled out his netminder after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks when Murray gave up four goals on 27 shots.

"We want him to get going, he'll be on waivers today and if someone picks him up, he will get an opportunity there," Smith told Sens TV after Murray was a healthy scratch Friday against the Anaheim Ducks. "If he doesn't, he'll likely go down to Belleville and get an opportunity to play and get his game back.

"By no means is this on Matt Murray. We want him to be the best goalie possible and give him the best chance. I think a lot of this revolves around the fact he's had a lot of injuries, and there's nothing you can do about it with COVID. He's missed a lot of time and hasn't been able to get into a rhythm. We certainly got to play better in front of him as well. We got to take some blame there. But this is about getting his game back."

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