Pittsburgh Penguins: Can Matt Murray Be a Vezina Trophy Winner?

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: Goaltender Matt Murray
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: Goaltender Matt Murray /

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray is heading into his second NHL season.

The sophomore may have a lot more expectations on his shoulders than he did last season. With the Pittsburgh Penguins losing previous starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas Golden Knights, a lot of room has been made for Murray to finally truly shine in this league.

We all know Matt Murray is a starter. He’s the first goalie to ever win two Stanley Cups as a rookie. He is still young and has lots of time to develop, yet he is already looking like a high calibre goaltender.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

In fact, one could argue that Murray is already among the top goaltenders in the league. If he keeps his strong play up, why can’t he even be a Vezina Trophy contender?

How Does He Compare?

Let’s look at the other top goaltenders from last season and see where Murray ranks.

Using Hockey References statistics for goalies from last season, we can see that Murray ranked 11th in wins with 32. This is interesting to note, because he also had the least amount of losses (10) out of the top 24 goalies in that ranking. If we look at the ten goaltenders above him, we can see that pretty much all of them are goaltenders who rightfully own the #1 spot on their team, like Braden Holtby, Cam Talbot, Sergei Bobrovsky and Carey Price. As well, all those goalies had played 55 games or more. Murray played 49.

On His Own

Murray also had other decent stats, including ranking 23rd in save percentage and 30th in goals against average. There were still many elite goaltenders who finished below him in these regards such as Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist

Murray had to split his starts with Fleury, which obviously contributed to his ranking. Who knows how high he could have been had he been the only starting goaltender for the Penguins. Well we’ll see this season.

I think Murray has the skill already to be a Vezina contender. With a strong defensive core in front of him, and a lot more starts coming his way, don’t be surprised when you see his name among the nominees.