Pittsburgh Penguins Need to Address Forward Depth – Trade Matt Murray


The Pittsburgh Penguins have been known for poor asset management over the past few years. Former General Manager Ray Shero’s trademark move was to draft defensive prospects, which he would later move with bundled draft picks for NHL veterans. Most of those veterans were rentals.

As you know, you can only move so many of these assets before you start running out. You end up with less-than optimal draft positions and a serious shortage in organizational depth.

That’s where the Pittsburgh Penguins currently find themselves. While there are a few players that may pan out such as Connor Sheary and Oscar Sundqvist, as well as Kasperi Kapanen who looks like a future star, it’s concerning that the two leading scorers for WBS are in their mid to late 30’s. Aside from the recent post-season performance of Brian Dumoulin and Taylor Chorney, there hasn’t been anyone that could step into the NHL this season and make an impact other than defenseman Derrick Pouliot.

One area that the Pittsburgh Penguins have depth beyond most teams is goaltending. Jeff Zatkoff proved to be a capable NHL backup last season, and they still have 19-year old Tristan Jarry playing in the Western Hockey League. A major part of asset management is noticing where you have surplus and trading or selling it for areas that you don’t.

This is where Matt Murray comes in. Murray had an unbelievable season for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in 2014-15. He finished the regular season with a 25-9-1 record and twelve shutouts. He also posted a 1.55 GAA and won the AHL rookie of the year award. All of that points to one very important thing. His stock will never be higher than this summer.

Aside from all of the depth mentioned above, keep in mind that the Pittsburgh Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury under contract through the 2018-19 season. That gives them time to develop young goaltenders like Jarry.  So, what kind of return can a goaltender like Matt Murray fetch?

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Keep in mind that Murray has been far less than stellar before this season. In his two seasons in the OHL he posted GAA’s of 3.67 and 2.57. He has shown improvement and progress year by year, but he’s no guarantee to be an undisputed number one goalie in the big leagues.

But, the great thing about the NHL is that GM’s love to base decisions on recent, small sample sizes. It’s almost guaranteed that there is a team out there with a scoring winger that’s willing to swap in order to bolster their goaltending. Or, the opportunity to move him at the 2015 NHL entry draft may present itself, and if it’s a pick that can bring a strong forward prospect from their board, Jim Rutherford should pull the trigger.

You can’t sustain success without developing internally. You can’t build a team solely through free agency, as is evident this season with the cap issues faced by the Pittsburgh Penguins. You have to get contributions from young players on entry-level deals in order to surround guys like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin with the talent they deserve.

Right now, the prospect pool is shallow. Matt Murray could help you change that.

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