The Pittsburgh Penguins and Matt Murray created a hallmark worthy love story, only then to be dismantled by another. Starting or not, his future is uncertain.
The plot of the Pittsburgh Penguins love story sometimes looks like this. The team meets Matt Murray and falls in love. Murray then leads the team to extreme success, falling more in love. But wait! Later that same team get tired of the routine and find another. Sound about right? It’s picture-worthy for sure.
Entering the season, there was zero question as to who was the number one netminder for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Murray had secured that slot after much success and was slated to continue down that same path. Even after a few months of play, Murray was still outbidding Tristan Jarry night after night. But we all know how the hockey gods can sometimes mess with fate.
One evening in late November, Murray gave up 4 goals on just 14 shots against the Canucks. He was replaced and the rest, history. The Penguins came back to win off of an impressive performance from Jarry in between the pipes and continued that run well into December.
The Pittsburgh Penguins by the numbers: Matt Murray
Overall this season, Murray’s numbers didn’t drop worthy going 20-11-5 through 38 games. His save percentage, however, did see a drop (.899%), which was his lowest in his career. Numbers like that saw he and Jarry enter into a platoon type of setup, but even still, it seemed that Mike Sullivan kept giving him chances to redeem himself.
By now, most of Pittsburgh knows how the rest of this story is slated to shake out. Under normal season circumstances, the Penguins would most likely keep both Jarry and Murray and keep this double-keeper system rolling. However, it’s not a typical year, and the Pens are looking at some severe cap issues and questions.
Honestly, a lot comes down to how the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs shape out. If Murray performs well, he may stay and challenge for his slot back. If he underperforms, it’ll only make matters easier for Jim Rutherford and the Penguins backroom staff. This topic surrounding Murray is hotter than anything else surrounding the Penguins at the moment, so stay tuned.