Matt Murray Named 2015 AHL Rookie of the Year


The Pittsburgh Penguins’ star goaltender prospect, Matt Murray, has had an exceptional pro season debut in 2014-15.

In his first professional season with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Murray posted a record of 25-9-3 while leading the league in goals-against-average (1.51), save-percentage (.943), and shutouts (12).

Murray’s 12 shutouts were in fact the most ever recorded by a rookie in AHL history. He also set the record for the AHL’s longest shutout streak, logging 304 minutes and 11 seconds without allowing a single goal.

The 20-year-old netminder’s play earned him the 2015 Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s top rookie. Murray is the first Baby Penguin to ever be awarded with the rookie honour.

Murray was also named to the 2014-15 AHL First All-Star Team and the 2014-15 AHL All-Rookie Team.

It’s a fitting end to a phenomenal season that saw Murray rise to the top of the Pens’ prospect pool.

With current starting netminder Marc-Andre Fleury already over the 30-years-old hill, the Pens seemingly have a bright future with Murray coming through the development pipeline.

The Baby Pens have put together a 43-23-3 record, good for a 4th-place ranking in the AHL’s Eastern conference. Assuming the standings stay as they currently are, the Pens will face Syracuse, the current fifth-ranked seed, in the playoffs.

Murray’s exceptional play between the pipes has been instrumental to guiding Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a solid season. The Baby Pens currently lead the league with the lowest number of goals allowed (151).

It’s quite a pro debut for Murray, whose AHL numbers are already far better than any of his totals from juniors.

Playing four seasons for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from the OHL, Murray’s best season came in his final year of juniors (2013-14), wherein he posted a goals-against-average of 2.57, a save-percentage of .921, and 6 shutouts.

More from Penguins News

Facing stiffer competition in the AHL, Murray has eclipsed all of those totals, rounding out his game further as he emerges as a future star.

It’s still very early in the young netminder’s career, but the promise is certainly there.

Assuming Murray does continue to thrive in the AHL and eventually moves on to the big leagues, he’d go down as a true draft steal, as the Pens nabbed him in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, 83rd overall.

The draft class featured a few other notable young netminders already, as Andrei Vasilevskiy and Malcolm Subban (both selected in the first round) have both become solid prospects, and Frederik Andersen (selected four spots after Murray) has emerged as the starting goaltender for one of the NHL’s top clubs, the Anaheim Ducks.

At 25 years old, Andersen has a few years on the young Murray, but Pittsburgh will count their lucky stars if their own late-round gem can blossom into a similarly strong performer.

More from Pens Labyrinth