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Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts: Murray back to IR, Ducks and Pens still chatting?

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Black Friday with the Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, here’s what is needed to catch up with the Penguins:

Yesterday the team announced Matt Murray is back to the IR.

”Matt is going to be longer-term with a lower-body injury,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He was evaluated [Thursday] morning by our team doctors. This is something that he’s been dealing with for a couple of weeks. The decision was made this morning to rest and see if that gives him an opportunity to heal. That’s where we’re at.”

That’s never good that Murray has been fighting through an injury, and perhaps a reason why he hasn’t been playing well as of late, and also why the team has started Casey DeSmith the last two contests, and six of the last seven games overall.

In his place, Tristan Jarry is back in the NHL for the second time this season (after not having played in the first time Murray went to IR this year). Jarry has been strong stopping 60 of the last 64 shots he’s seen in the AHL, so that’s good news that at least one goalie in the organization is playing well as of late.

It remains to be seen what “longer term” means, but certainly one would think for the foreseeable future it will be up to DeSmith and Jarry while once again the Pens starting goalie heals.

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Elliotte Friedman floated talk that Pittsburgh and the Anaheim Ducks may have been talking trade last week, and we read between the lines to make look like a potential Olli Maatta for Josh Manson or Brandon Montour trade could at least be in discussions. Looks like that was at least partially on the right path (from Friedman’s latest this week):

Okay, some other stuff: sounds like Pittsburgh tried to get its hands on Brandon Montour from Anaheim. Don’t think the Ducks are interested. He’s a talented guy. Someone who does fit their profile? Jakob Silfverberg, a pending UFA. Entering Saturday’s game in Ottawa, 41 of the Penguins’ 46 goals from forwards came out of their top six.

It is pretty open ended on what “Pittsburgh tried to get its hands on Brandon Montour” actually means, as every other team “tries to get their hands on” Jake Guentzel on just about any initial trade discussion they have with the Pens. So that might be far along, or might not.

The rumor about Silfverberg is interesting. Both Pittsburgh and Anaheim are nearly salary-cap max teams so any potential trade (much like the Tanner Pearson for Carl Hagelin deal made with the LA Kings) will have to be virtually salary neutral in order to work for both sides.

One immediate stand-out is that Bryan Rust’s salary ($3.5 million) is very similar to Silfverberg’s $3.75. But would Anaheim be interested in buying low on Rust? And would Pittsburgh really want to take on another mostly right winger to what already is a loaded area on the roster? Also is it a good idea to manage the asset of a 25-year old (who has performed well in playoffs) under contract for 3+ more seasons to trade for a rental type player?

More questions remain than answers, but stay tuned. Could be something brewing between the Pens and Ducks. It’s a shame (but also very logical) for Pittsburgh that Anaheim didn’t want to panic and deal off a puck moving right handed defenseman like Montour, but you never know until you ask. That would have been the best possible trade if ANA wanted to deal in defense.