Should the Penguins Give Matt Murray a Shot Before the Season’s End?


The Pittsburgh Penguins organization has a promising, dynamic, young star between the pipes – and his name isn’t Marc-Andre Fleury.

With all due respect to the Flower and the elite season he’s had in 2014-15, the story right now concerning Penguins goaltending is AHL netminder Matt Murray.

Suiting up for the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Murray has posted some historic numbers as of late.

On Mar. 8th, Murray broke the AHL record for longest shutout streak, keeping the puck out for 304.11 minutes (shattering Barry Brust‘s previous record of 268.17).

That streak consisted of an astounding four consecutive shutouts, which nearly turned into five until Murray allowed one goal in the third period of the Baby Pens’ game against the Springfield Falcons.

The 20-year-old netminder’s numbers are no less impressive when viewed in the context of the season as a whole. He’s posted 9 total shutouts alongside a save-percentage of .940 and a goals-against-average of 1.57 (all three numbers are the highest of any AHL goalie this season).

His elite performance has led the Baby Pens to 18 wins in the 30 games he’s suited up for.

Despite the excellent play, Murray has yet to be given a shot in the NHL this season, though the reasons are hardly a mystery.

For one, he’s young – very young. He’ll turn 21 this May and, though he’s posting exceptional numbers this season, it’s still his first go as a pro, as prior to this season he had played in only one AHL game.

The prospect of Murray joining the big boys is enticing, though – especially considering the lacklustre play of Thomas Greiss, who was brought in this last offseason to serve as Fleury’s backup.

Greiss hasn’t been quite as problematic lately, posting 4 wins in his last 5 games, but he certainly hasn’t been a wholly reliable option for Pittsburgh either.

With the playoffs fast approaching, it’s unclear whether the team has enough faith in Greiss to feel confident with him coming in during the postseason if Fleury falters once again – an issue the Pens reportedly focused on last summer.

However, with under 20 games left in the season, it’s perhaps too late to bring Murray in. He’s as untested as they come at the NHL level – even in regular season play, let alone during the grind of the playoffs.

Regardless, it’s abundantly clear that the Pens have a star on their hands. Even if Murray’s play falls off a bit, his numbers would still be much better than most of his AHL contemporaries.

And if he could play half as well in the NHL as he has in the AHL, Murray would still be a much much better option than Greiss.

2015 may not be Murray’s time to make his mark in the NHL, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him get a shot at the back-up role some time in the next couple seasons.

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