“The acquisition of Matt Murray represents an important addition to our lineup,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in the team’s press release. “He’s a proven goaltender who has considerable high-pressure experience and someone who we’re certain will serve as a exceptional mentor to our young group of upcoming goaltenders.”
Murray, 26, won the Stanley Cup twice with the Pittsburgh Penguins — first in 2015-16, when he came in to replace an injured Marc-Andre Fleury as an inexperienced rookie with just 13 NHL games to his name, and then again the following season (which was, technically, his actual rookie year).
That Pittsburgh dealt the 26-yer-old is not surprising, as general manager Jim Rutherford made it clear he’d be making changes in net. With Tristan Jarry and Murray splitting starts and both scheduled to become restricted free agents on Oct. 9, Rutherford admitted there would be “tough decisions ahead” — made only tougher by the flat cap and the impending Seattle expansion draft.
That decision seemed to have been made earlier this week when the club re-signed Jarry to a three-year, $10.5-million deal. Moving Murray also clears a spot for Casey DeSmith to move into the backup position on a more permanent basis going forward.
The Senators, meanwhile, were on the hunt for a starting goaltender and will now need to negotiate with Murray on a new deal. Ottawa announced earlier this off-season that they were officially moving on from veteran starter Craig Anderson, who is now a free agent.
Murray, who hails from Thunder Bay, has a career record of 117-53-19 over the course of 199 regular season games across five seasons with the Penguins since being drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round (83rd overall) in 2012. He has a career goals-against average of 2.67 and a .914 save percentage.
The Senators have been going through a massive rebuild, and the acquisition of Murray brings another major piece just one day after the organization brought in three major prospects in what was a crucial first-round draft haul for Ottawa. The Senators selected German forward Tim Stuetzle with the third overall pick, and addressed their blue line with the top defender in the draft with Jake Sanderson at No. 5. With the 28th pick, centreman Ridly Greig was selected out of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings.