As a goaltender, I do not like to write negative pieces on other netminders, especially one that man the nets in the National Hockey League.
I clearly have no experience playing professional hockey so I cannot imagine what these guys go through on a daily basis. I also cannot imagine what it is like to sustain an injury and try to get healthy as quickly as possible to get back between the pipes.
With that said, however, I feel like that this is something that has to be written. It is not a hit piece per se, but rather, it is one that is realistic and something that needs to be thought about by the team involved.
I am talking about goaltender Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is a netminder that led them to back-to-back Cups in 2016 and 17 and certainly had the makings of being a more than solid goaltender for this franchise for years to come.
While the Cups will always remain, I don’t think it can be said anymore that Murray is this team’s future in net for years to come. Heck, it can’t even be said that he is the team’s goaltender of the present.
This is simply awful. Yes, Murray is a two-time Cup winner, but other than that, he is just a goaltender that gets injured far too often, which should be a big red flag for the Penguins.
He has had multiple concussions, multiple lower-body injuries, has broken his hand, has missed far too much time for someone who is supposed to be a starting goaltender, and might be the most fragile player in the entire league. This particular injury marks the ninth time in his career that he will miss time.
To go along with being injured a lot, his play between the pipes certainly has not been great. Yes, he was outstanding in the playoffs in both 2016 and 17, but his play both last season and this season is alarming.
Last year, Murray did win 27 games, but having a goals against average of 2.92 and a .907 save percentage aren’t exactly great. While the team in front of him wasn’t all that great defensively last season, he did not make the saves that he needed to at times when the team needed him the most.
Prior to getting injured again this season, Murray had been dreadful between the pipes. He is currently 4-5-1 with a 4.08 goals against average, a .877 save percentage, and one shutout.
Yes, a shutout is always nice, but besides that one perfect game, he has been awful. He is allowing a lot of soft goals, has been caught out of position a lot already this season and just has not seemed comfortable in the crease.
It’s that last item that is another red flag for this franchise. Murray never seems to be fully healthy and if they want to make the playoffs and have a chance of winning the Cup, they need someone who is healthy, consistently on the ice, and one who is not afraid of getting hurt.
I hate to say to say this, but I do not think that Murray is that guy for this team. I am not sure if the Penguins will do it or not, but I think the time has come for the franchise to think about moving on from Murray and instead focus on developing or finding a goalie for the future.