The Pittsburgh Penguins traded goaltender Matt Murray to the Ottawa Senators.
Just before the draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins fans finally got their wish, Jack Johnson was bought out by the Penguins, the first time ever for the organization, and he was sent on his way.
However, just under 48 hours later, another trade occurred. Moving Matt Murray was inevitable, but Penguins fans weren’t ready for the departure.
It happened after being given a qualifying offer Monday afternoon, Matt Murray was sent to the Ottawa Senators.
This was a bit of a shock because he was given a qualifying offer but it appears it was just so Pittsburgh could retain his rights.
Penguins fans won’t forget Murray’s tenure because he is a two-time Stanley Cup champion. He watched and learned alongside one of the Penguin’s greatest goalies in Marc-Andre Fleury. He stood side-by-side with Fleury as they hoisted the Stanley Cup twice.
Unfortunately, that may have been a big reason for Murray’s downfall. Now don’t get me wrong, Murray is 26 years old and is hitting his prime but a change of scenery is going to benefit him.
Most importantly, he’s going to get out from under the looming shadow of Marc-Andre Fleury. One thing he hasn’t been able to escape ever since Marc-Andre Fleury was picked up by the Vegas Golden Knights.
No matter how good Matt Murray was, he was always going to be compared to the flower. Any playoff loss was going to be placed squarely on his shoulders compared to the goalie that came before him.
To be fair also, it seemed like it took a while for Matt Murray to be given the true number one spot after Marc-Andre Fleury left. Other goalies were brought in to try and back him up. They signed veteran Antti Niemi. That year, the Penguins failed to three-peat and fell to their archrival, the Washington Capitals in six games.
I’ll always remember that Kuznetsov Breakaway overtime, dagger!
During that same season, Murray would get injured and Casey Desmith would get called up. Over the next year, it would seem like it would be a rotating Carousel between Matt Murray, Casey Desmith, and Tristan Jarry.
Even during the 18/19 season when it seemed like the number one job was his, the occasional injury would happen to Murray resulting in a call-up of Tristan Jarry. Penguins fans would start looking past Murray and toward Tristan Jarry as if Penguins fans were already looking ahead past Murray. A first-round exit and a sweep to the New York Islanders only amplifies this talk of replacing Matt Murray.
This current year even with the pandemic, it seemed like fans were ready to move past Matt Murray, however, Tristan Jarry did post better numbers than Murray.
Once the bubble hockey playoff tournament started, many fans were expecting Jarry to start, including this hack.
Coach Mike Sullivan stuck with Matt Murray. And in his defense, Murray didn’t play all that bad, the reason for the pens failure in the first round was not on Murray, but more on the team in front of him.
However, Murray along with a few other unpopular Penguins were blamed for the Penguin’s shortcomings. Murray wasn’t the reason why the Penguins were eliminated. The Penguins came out flat and complacent, thinking they could just show up and beat the Canadiens.
With Murray becoming a restricted free agent this offseason, many fans thought it was just simply time to move on from the 26-year-old goaltender, and it appears they have.
I believe Murray does need a fresh start, and with the young team with modest expectations, maybe Murray can flourish the way he once did.
In Ottawa, Matt Murray won’t have to worry about being in the shadow of number 29, he won’t have a fan base that is looking ahead to the farm system and looking to replace him at a moment’s notice.
So long Matt Murray, thank you for all that you did, you were a vital part of the back-to-back Stanley Cup winning seasons.
And from this Penguin fan, sorry we kept comparing you to Marc-Andre Fleury.