Between the Patric Hornqvist trade and other goings on surrounding the Penguins, it’s been a minute since we have discussed where things stand with goaltender Matt Murray and his future in Pittsburgh.
As of right now, talks surrounding Murray have quieted down from where they were a few weeks ago, but Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is still working the phones to find a potential trade partner. While there is the possibility Tristan Jarry could be the goaltender traded, Rutherford seems keen on moving Murray as Rutherford feels he will bring the greater return.
“There are a lot of goalies out there. But let me ask this question: How many 26-year-old goalies who have won two Stanley Cups are available right now? There are a lot of goalies out there, and a lot of good ones. There’s no question about that. But those guys out there on the market haven’t done what Matt has done. To me, that’s the difference, and that’s why teams want him. That’s the way I’m looking at it moving forward.”
That statement falls just short of Rutherford renting out billboard space to advertise Murray as for sale to the rest of the NHL. Nothing Rutherford said there is incorrect in regards to Murray’s history or pedigree, but it definitely washed over his performance since those two Stanley Cup titles.
In early September, Murray was listed as the top trade piece by Frank Seravalli on his inaugural ‘Trade Bait’ board along with teammates Kris Letang and Jared McCann. Now, Murray is the lone Penguins representative on Seravalli’s latest board posting, coming in at No. 4 behind blockbuster names like Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Patrik Laine. While he may no longer be at the top of the list, it’s clear Murray is still viewed as likely to be traded.
Another thing to keep in mind when discussing Murray and any potential trade is his pending restricted free agent status. Unless the Penguins swing a trade in the next few days, they will have to qualify Murray by the deadline on October 7th. If they do not qualify Murray by the cutoff, he will become an unrestricted free agent and join an already saturated goalie market.
In his interview with Yohe at The Athletic, Rutherford confirmed the team plans on qualifying both Murray and Jarry so this should not be any issue, just something that has to be done unless a trade materializes before Wednesday.
All in all, not much has changed in the past month involving the Penguins and Murray. Rutherford is still actively looking for potential suitors to make a trade happen and all signs still point to Murray being the goalie on the way out. Whether the deal gets done next week or next month remains to be seen, but everything is basically in a holding pattern for the moment until all the pieces come together.