Matt Murray

by Mark Allan on June 4, 2017

 

Matt Murray, G

Catches: L

Height: 6-4

Weight: 179

Born: 1994-05-25

Hometown: Thunder Bay, ON, CAN

Drafted: 2012 by Pittsburgh Penguins, 83rd Overall

 

 

 

Observations:

June 2017 – Being the only NHL team with two Stanley Cup champion goalies on their roster and reaching the Cup final for the second straight June are not a coincidence for the Penguins. After Murray replaced an injured Marc-Andre Fleury and carried Pittsburgh to the 2016 title, Fleury filled in for his ailing counterpart and backstopped the Pens through most of the first three rounds of the 2017 post-season. Surprise! The youngster replaces the veteran again, and Pittsburgh keeps rolling. The unflappable 6-4 Murray used a 2.41 GAA and .923 save percentage to build a 32-10-4 regular-season mark. In his first seven 2017 playoff games, he’s 5-2 with 1.96 and .930 supporting numbers. GM Jim Rutherford will do whatever he must to keep his prized young netminder out of Vegas’ expansion draft clutches. Mark Allan

February 2017 – His GAA has crept up to 2.42 in the early part of 2017 and he lost his most recent start, a 3-2 OT defeat to visiting Calgary. That's the bad news. Murray, still considered a rookie although he backstopped the Penguins to the Stanley Cup, retains a solid .922 save percentage and an even better 19-7-1 record. He has received the lion's share of the starts recently and will surely be kept when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury is traded, perhaps by the March 1 deadline. GM Jim Rutherford even speculated aloud recently that he would listen if Fleury, who has a no-movement clause with a modified provision naming 18 preferred destinations, requested to be moved. Mark Allan

December 2016 – Just when it looked like the gangly 22-year-old had established himself as Pittsburgh's unidisputed netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury recovered from a disastrous outing and was solid in surprising back-to-back wins. Murray then suffered a lower-body injury against Carolina and will be out week to week. Backed up by Tristan Jarry, Fleury will undoubtedly take advantage of his opportunity. It's unlikely the Penguins will start next season with both Stanley Cup champion netminders. Who goes and who stays? Cap-strapped Pittsburgh undoubtedly would prefer to stick with Murray, who has youth and a lower cap hit than Fleury in his favor. Murray's stats (13-3-1, 2.18 and .928) are vastly superior to Fleury's this season but his sample size of success, while spectacular, remains small and this injury is his second in four months. Stay tuned. Mark Allan

December 2016 – The Penguins extended the contract of their top prospect by signing Murray to a three-year deal that carries a cap hit of $3.75 million per season. Which team he plays for during that time remains to be determined in a storyline of soap-opera magnitude. While he and Marc-Andre Fleury are both starting-goalie caliber, neither is gettiung the starts to reflect that and Fleury's play is especially suffering. Murray has a 7-2 record with impressive 2.02 GAA and .929 save percentage stats. Mark Allan

November 2016 – Murray started hesitantly and finished strongly in his season debut, making 33 saves in a 5-1 win over the host Anaheim Ducks. Marc-Andre Fleury will start the next game, but Murray's impressive performance enhances his chances of taking more starts from his veteran counterpart. What will be will be regarding what the Penguins do to shield their two Stanley Cup netminders from the expansion draft. In the meantime, there's a lot of season ahead in which the duo will compete in an old-fashioned battle for playing time. While it's frustrating for fantasy owners, it's great for the team. Mark Allan

October 2016 – Recovered from a broken hand, Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup backstop sat on the bench for the second straight game as Marc-Andre Fleury started for the eighth straight time in a 4-2 victory over the Islanders. Fleury recorded his 19th win in his past 24 home starts. Also a Stanley Cup champion goalie, Fleury has given up two or fewer goals in five of the first six home games. The proud veteran will battle for every start and make it as difficult as he can for coach Mike Sullivan to start Murray. Nonetheless, Murray has proved himself under the brightest lights in hockey and will get his share of starts, perhaps more on the road. Who knows what the future brings, but the Penguins have an embarassment of riches in their net as they defend their championship. Mark Allan

October 2016 – He doesn't know what team he'll be with next season but Murray has a shiny new three-year contract extension. Because Pittsburgh has no spare cap space, the deal kicks in for the 2017-18 campaign and carries an average annual value annual cap hit of $3.75 million. The 22-year-old, who continues to recover from a broken hand suffered during the World Cup, participated in the Penguins' morning skate Oct. 20 after skating a day earlier. He's close to returning to active status, which will give head coach Mike Sullivan a difficult but enviable choice. No other NHL team has two Stanley Cup-winning goalies. In his four starts this season, Marc-Andre Fleury has a 2.94 GAA and a .914 save percentage, which won't help him to fend off a challenge from Murray for the No. 1 job. The Penguins intend to focus on defending their championship, although they can protect just one netminder for the expansion draft, which will loom larger as the trade deadline nears. Mark Allan

October 2016 – By acquiring netminder Mike Condon on waivers from the Canadiens to back up Marc-Andre Fleury, the Penguins have bought themselves as much time as they think they need to allow the injured Murray to fully recover. While this might mean Murray's return to the NHL is delayed slightly, he'll easily return before Christmas to swipe starts from Fleury as Condon shares AHL starts with Tristan Jarry. Mark Allan

October 2016 – Based on the original estimate of how long a broken hand will keep him out of action, Murray could be back anywhere from the first week of the regular season to early November. It's literally and figuratively a bad break for the lanky young netminder, who had at least even odds of seizing the No. 1 job from Marc-Andre Fleury. The team-oriented but fiercely competitive Fleury, who had a strong 2015-16 campaign, now can re-establish himself as the top dog between Pittsburgh's pipes for as long as he plays well and avoids injury. After allowing three goals in a 4-2 pre-season loss to Detroit, Fleury blocked all 24 shots in a 1-0 win over Chicago. Mark Allan

September 2016 – The good news about Matt Murray's broken hand? He won't need surgery to repair the injury he suffered in a 4-3 loss to Russia during the World Cup. The bad news? He'll miss three to six weeks. The other good news? Pittsburgh still has Marc-Andre Fleury, so Murray should get all the time he needs to heal. Unless the Penguins acquire a veteran backup, expect Tristan Jarry to watch from the Pittsburgh bench and perhaps get an NHL start or two. Mark Allan

September 2016 – The Penguins' outstanding young netminder had a rare stumble in a 4-3 loss to Russia in the World Cup of Hockey, allowing four goals on 19 shots before being replaced in the second period by Anaheim's John Gibson, who stopped all six shots aimed at him. Murray might have been tired after carrying the load for the exciting Team North America young guns to that point. In Murray's previous start, he stopped 24 shots in a 4-1 victory over Finland. Murray's pro and international body of work remains small but extremely promising. There's much talk of him replacing Marc-Andre Fleury as Pittsburgh's No. 1 goalie this season. That could happen but the veteran is still an excellent goalie, and will compete with all he's got. There's also the sticky matter of the no-movement and limited no-trade provisions in Fleury's contract. Murray has a bright future in the NHL, somewhere. He'll likely split starts with Fleury to start the campaign, and should think about adding a bit of bulk if he hopes to start 50 to 60 games in a season. Mark Allan

June 2016 – Following a relatively undistinguished junior hockey resume, Murray has been in the middle of a fairytale during his first two pro seasons. After a record-smashing AHL rookie season, he stifled opponents as a sophomore to the tune of a 2.10 GAA in 31 games, actually bettering that with 2.00 in 13 NHL contests. The best was yet to come. Recovering more quickly from a concussion that starter Marc-Andre Fleury did from his, the lanky Murray played so well that Fleury got back into the net for just one playoff game. Demonstrating the unflappability of an upper-echelon vet, the NHL first-timer backstopped the Penguins in Ken Dryden fashion to a Stanley Cup championship. Murray's size, athleticism and ability to handle pressure have sparked a rumor that the Pens might trade Fleury and his $5.75-million annual cap hit. If he's going to be a No. 1 NHL netminder, though, Murray should add some meat to those bones. Mark Allan

April 2016 – Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is The Man of the present while Marc-Andre Fleury is out with his second concussion of the season. The lanky Murray kept the Penguins' hot streak rolling heading into the post-season, beating the Flyers 6-2, the Senators 5-3 and the faltering Capitals 4-3 in overtime since Fleury was diagnosed. Although there's no timetable for Fleury's return to action, he demonstrated significant progress, said coach Mike Sullivan. The timing is bad, although worse things could happen than being forced to rely on impressive rookie Murray heading into the playoffs. Mark Allan

March 2016 – Besides being named to Team North America for the World Cup, the promising young netminder vaulted over defenseman Derrick Pouliot to the top spot on Pittsburgh's prospect list as compiled by the Hockey News in the 2016 Future Watch (up from fifth a year ago). Murray, who has supplanted Jeff Zatkoff as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup during the Penguins' playoff drive, was given credit in Future Watch for anticipating plays "extraordinarily well" and aggressively challenging shooters. Promoted to the NHL recently from his job as the No. 1 goalie for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, Murray has a 3-2-1 NHL record this season with a miniscule 1.82 GAA and sparkling .934 save percentage. Those peripheral stats are even better than his AHL numbers. Mark Allan

February 2016 – Recalled from the AHL, Murray finds himself in an awkward three-goalie situation in Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury is obviously No. 1, leaving Murray and Jeff Zatkoff to scrap for starts. Ironically, they split AHL starts last season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Murray, named the league's top netminder in his first pro campaign, credited the veteran Zatkoff with helping him to develop so quickly. Zatkoff, who becomes a UFA at the end of this season, is already looking like the odd man out with a current NHL GAA of 2.78 and a so-so .917 save percentage. The precocious Murray, with peripherals of 1.72 and .938 in four games for Pittsburgh this season, is third in the AHL in GAA at 2.10 and save percentage at .931. The 21-year-old will get the call as Fleury's backup if the Penguins think he gives them a better shot than Zatkoff at helping them to reach the playoffs. Mark Allan

January 2016 – Unsurprisingly, Murray has been selected to play in the AHL all-star game. Mark Allan

January 2016 – Murray is back in the AHL, but not because he faltered while covering for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury. Quite the opposite. Somewhat replicating his sensational pro rookie season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL, Murray was 2-1-1 for Pittsburgh with a 1.72 GAA and a .938 save percentage. Those impressive peripherals are no surprise to his teammates and fans back in the AHL, and the second-year pro is clearly Pittsburgh's top goaltending prospect – with a bullet. Jeff Zatkoff, who split AHL starts with Murray last season, has a fine .926 save percentage in nine games as Fleury's backup, but his GAA is a bloated 2.60. He's a UFA after this season, and could be replaced by Murray as Fleury's 2016-17 backup. Murray, by the way, made 30 saves and beat the Springfield Falcons 4-1 in his AHL return. Mark Allan

November – The AHL sophomore continued to impress by stopping 41 shots as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won 5-2 in the first of back-to-back games against  the St. John's Ice Dogs. Murray stood tall in the final period, making 20 saves. At this point the heir apparent to Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh, Murray has compiled a 7-1 record with sensational peripherals (1.75 GAA and .946 save percentage). Unlike last season, when he split starts with current Pittsburgh backup Jeff Zatkoff, Murray is getting the lion's share of WBS starts over younger fellow prospect Tristan Jarry. Mark Allan 

October – As expected, the young goalie has been returned to the American Hockey league. Murray, who rewrote the AHL netminding record book as a rookie pro last season as he split starts 50-50 with veteran Jeff Zatkoff, will gain more invaluable pro experience with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. However, if he's playing well and Zatkoff fumbles his opportunity as Marc-Andre's Fleury's backup or either Pittsburgh goalie gets hurt, don't be surprised if Murray gets recalled. If he maintains his career arc, he will spend a lot more time in the NHL in the future. Mark Allan

September 2015 – Although the Penguins will likely return him to the AHL for more seasoning, Murray bounced back from a poor pre-season result in which he was under siege in a 6-1 loss to Detroit with a strong performance in a 4-2 win over Tampa Bay. The young netminder made a couple of impressive stops, including a glove save on an unchecked Steven Stamkos. Mark Allan

September 2015 – Murray did not enhance his odds of making Pittsburgh's roster in a 6-1 pre-season loss to Detroit. He made 21 saves as the Penguins' lone netminder in the game but a .778 save percentage is not a ticket to the NHL. After rewriting the AHL record book in his rookie season, Murray might well find himself back with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to get more pro seasoning. That would clear the way for Jeff Zatkoff to back up Marc-Andre Fleury. Mark Allan

September 2015 – After Jeff Zatkoff and Tristan Jarry split goaltending duties in Pittsburgh's pre-season opener, Murray blocked all six shots he faced in a 7-3 win Sept. 22 over Carolina. Marc-Andre Fleury earned the victory in spite of allowing the Hurricanes' three goals. Fleury's job as Pittsburgh's starter is not in jeopardy. Murray, who rewrote the AHL goaltending record book in his first pro season, is in a competition with Jeff Zatkoff and Tristan Jarry for the backup job, although Jarry's youth and inexperience make it basically a two-man contest between Murray and the more experienced Zatkoff. Mark Allan

March 2015 – Becoming just the fourth netminder in AHL history to reach 10 shutouts, Murray strengthened his chances of one day becoming an in-house Pittsburgh successor to Marc-Andre Fleury. While stopping 32 shots and ending a three-game Wilkes-Barre/Scranton winless streak with a 3-0 victory over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he also set a new league rookie shutout mark. The win gave the towering six-five puck-stopper an eye-popping 16-2-1 record in his past 19 games and a 21-8-3 overall mark on the season. Considering those numbers, it’s not surprising that he leads the league with a 1.60 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. Mark Allan

December 2014 – Playing only three games fewer than fellow Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Jeff Zatkoff, Murray has strong peripherals that rival Zatkoff’s. In 12 games, Murray has a 5-4-1 record with two shutouts, a 1.99 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage that ties Zatkoff. They are the only goaltending tandem in the AHL with a GAA under 2.00. Unfortunately for the six-foot-five Murray, his seven-year pro counterpart has won his past four starts, allowing just six goals, and is keeping Murray on the bench. Mark Allan

December 2014 – The AHL rookie recorded his second shutout of the season by making 22 saves Nov. 28 as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won 1-0 over the St. John’s IceCaps. Pittsburgh’s No. 5 prospect (behind No. 3 Tristan Jarry) as ranked by the Hockey News in its 2014 Future Watch, Murray outdueled IceCaps’ first-year counterpart Connor Hellebuyck, who was riding a five-game win streak. The six-foot-five Murray upped his record to 5-4-1. Mark Allan

May 2014 –Goaltender Matt Murray was named to the OHL's 2nd All-Star Team joining Connor McDavid, Scott Kosmachuk, Michael Dal Colle, Adam Pelech and Nikita Zadorov. Murray capped of a great OHL career in 2013-14 as the young netminder is expected to turn pro for the upcoming 2014-15 campaign.Brendan Ross

April 2014 – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that goaltender Matt Murray of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the OHL Player of the Week for the playoff week ending March 30 after posting a 3-0-0-0 record including one shutout victory with a goals-against-average of 1.33 and save percentage of .957. In addition, Matt Murray was named the Canadian Hockey League's Vaughn Goaltender of the Week. In the regular season, Murray finished atop many of the OHL goaltending statistical categories including: 2.57 GAA (5th) .921 save percentage (3rd), 32 wins (2nd) and six shutouts (tied for 1st). Murray and his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have advanced to the Western Conference Semi-Final where they will face the Erie Otters. Brendan Ross

November 2013 – Murray's hot season continues and after going 3-0-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA, .945 save percentage and one shutout during week eight, he was named OHL Player of the Week. Brendan Ross

November 2013 – Matt Murray of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds was one of three goaltenders named to the OHL roster for the 2013 SUBWAY Super Series. Murray is slated to appear in both OHL games and it’s no surprise, given that his 2.26 GAA and .925 save percentage tops all current OHL goaltenders.  Brendan Ross

August 2013 – Matt Murray is an athletic, hybrid goaltender who uses his size to his advantage. Murray played in 53 games this past season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, winning 26 games and leading them to the playoffs. His in-net quickness could improve and he will need to add mass to his frame to increase the amount of net he covers even more. Seth Brisendine

 

Fantasy Outlook: A

After rewriting the AHL record book as a rookie and backstopping Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup, Murray is receiving the lion's share of starts as Marc-Andre Fleury has been reduced to the league's best backup.

 

Footage:

Matt Murray thwarts the high-powered Washington offense when it matters most – the playoffs:

 

 

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