Senators land two-time Stanley Cup champ Matt Murray from Pens

Empty attachment or post type not equal ‘attachment’

Bruce Garrioch  Ottawa Sun

The Ottawa Senators didn’t wait long to address one of their off-season needs by pulling off a massive deal.

General manager Pierre Dorion started off the second day of the NHL draft by acquiring goaltender Matt Murray from the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday morning and the expectation is he’ll be signed to a contract extension with the club before the start of the season which has been pushed back to at least Jan. 1.

The Senators gave up the No. 52 selection in the second round and prospect Jonathan Gruden in exchange for Murray. The Penguins had three goaltenders and decided to keep Tristan Jarry over Murray.

“The acquisition of Matt Murray represents an important addition to our line up,” said Dorion. “He’s a proven goaltender who has considerable high-pressure experience and someone who we’re certain will serve as a exceptional mentor to our young group of upcoming goaltenders.”

Dorion had been in pursuit of Murray for a couple of months but the deal only came together in the last 48 hours. He had been given permission to speak with the Chicago Blackhawks but the two sides couldn’t get a contract in place and that’s when the Senators got back into the mix.

“Without a doubt, Matt Murray will be a No. 1 goalie this year,” said Dorion. “We’ve been working on this deal with Jim Rutherford, who’s been great to work with, and we were able to pull the trigger.”

A restricted free agent, the 26-year-old Murray spent the last five years with the Penguins and helped the club win two Stanley Cups in that stretch. He will give the Senators some much-needed stability in the net with goaltender Anders Nilsson still suffering the effects of a concussion he suffered in Dec. 2018.

“Matt Murray is very excited to be an Ottawa Senator,” said Andy Scott, an Ottawa-based agent with Octagon Hockey and one of Murray’s representatives. “I spoke to him this morning and he believes this team has a chance to very competitive in the years ahead.

“He loves the city and he feels like their team can be winner and they’ve got a talented young core.”

The Senators gave him a qualifying offer but had talks with his camp after the deal was completed so it’s going to be a good fit so there’s a deal to be made there. Yes, Murray has rights to arbitration and he may file but it’s doubtful they’ll go that route.

A three year deal makes sense and it’s believed that’s already been discussed.

“The group at Octagon and Matt Murray are very confident we can get something done,” said Scott.

Advertisement

Article content continued

Though Murray was looking for a long-term contract, the reality is the Senators don’t need that kind of fit in the net and it may make sense to a settle on a three-year deal in the $6 million per-year range.

The Senators have six goalies in the organisation and they feel down the road this is going to be a position of strength. They feel Murray is going to help the young players by giving the club stability in net until the organisation feels one of the goalies will be ready to take over the net.