Matt Murray Trade Rumors: Penguins, Oilers Talking Move for Star Goalie

Jenna CiccotelliContributor ISeptember 10, 2020

A shot by Washington Capitals' Nic Dowd gets past Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray for a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

The Pittsburgh Penguins are exploring options for two-time Stanley Cup champion Matt Murray, and while rumors have linked the 26-year-old goalie to Edmonton, the Oilers aren't willing to pay the price.

According to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, the Penguins are asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Murray, who became a restricted free agent when Pittsburgh was eliminated in the qualifying round of the NHL playoffs.

The Oilers finished 37-25-9, second in the Pacific Division, but veteran goaltender Mike Smith is entering free agency at 38 years old, and Mikko Koskinen, 32, has two years left on a three-year contract. Together, the pair posted a .906 save percentage—14th best in the league—this season, per Sportsnet's Mark Spector

As such, the search for new netminding in Edmonton isn't exactly urgent, and LeBrun expects the Oilers to be patient in their search. The team hasn't ruled out a return for Smith, either.

Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford told The Athletic in May that the team may be looking to trade a goalie after the season, with both Murray and Tristan Jarry set to enter free agency. 

Murray led Pittsburgh to back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017, finishing in the top 10 in the league in wins, save percentage, and shutouts to finish fourth in voting for Rookie of the Year. He recorded the longest playoff shutout streak in franchise history, from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals to the 2018 first round, and is the fastest goaltender to record 25 postseason wins. 

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His contract, which ran from 2017-18 to this season, carried an average annual value of $3.75 million.

The Ontario native made 38 starts this season (20-11-5) with a 2.87 goals-against average and .899 save percentage. But during a tough November, Jarry took over, starting 13 of 20 games between Nov. 16 and Dec. 30, going 12-2-0. The 25-year-old made the All-Star Game as an injury replacement for Joonas Korpisalo.

"He was our best goaltender in our past couple of camps, so we knew we had a good one," Rutherford said of Jarry. "But the truth is, he played at a higher and more consistent level than we were anticipating."