Hear me out. You may or may not agree with my stance. Just read it and let me know your thoughts.
I’m not advocating for the Penguins to do this but it’s just a counterpoint. But what if the Penguins traded Matt Murray instead of Marc-Andre Fleury?
With the expansion draft coming up, one goalie will likely have to be moved. If you aren’t familiar with the Penguins’ situation, they will only be allowed to protect one goalie according to NHL expansion rules. They are forced to protect Fleury due to his No-Movement Clause. This would leave Murray exposed and it’s almost a guarantee that the Vegas Golden Knights would take him. The Penguins would never allow that to happen.
So the obvious answer then becomes to trade the older Fleury who is currently being outperformed by his younger counterpart, right? Kind of.
Could you imagine the king’s ransom you could get for Murray who won a Stanley Cup in his rookie season, picking up 15 of his team’s 16 wins along the way. He has continued the dominance into this year as he’s all but taken the starting job away from Fleury. That’s my biggest worry.
Fleury couldn’t net much of a return right now. Heading into the season, they could’ve gotten a legit top six defenseman/forward for him. The same can’t be said now. Mark Madden mentioned a few days ago that the Penguins best move is to keep Marc-Andre Fleury all the way through to the end of the season. It provides you an experienced second option incase of a Murray injury or struggles. Then you trade him prior to the expansion draft and take literally whatever you can get or buy him out even though the Pens would like to avoid that option at all costs.
(Hear me out on this) OR…
The Penguins could trade Murray. It seems far fetched but the Penguins could fill a need on either offense or defense. Making the Penguins scarier in front of the goalie would be welcomed in many fans eyes. Would they allow Murray to be traded?
Here’s some positives.
Fleury has proven he’s a better goalie when he’s playing the majority of games and isn’t being threatened by any sort of competition. They have Tristan Jarry who seems like he may be NHL ready. Of course, Jarry hasn’t enjoyed the success that Murray did at the AHL level but many scouts believe Jarry is an NHL starter.
Their second round pick this season was a goalie, Filip Gustavsson. He has been a solid goalie and has a pedigree because he was chosen as a second round pick when the Penguins already had stockpiled on goalies.
Murray is potentially a franchise goaltender and those don’t come around often. The Penguins likely wouldn’t get that kind of success out of Jarry. Jarry was always touted to be the better goalie until Murray’s explosion in the minor leagues.
The thing with goalies is that they are such a hit or miss commodity. People like Jason LaBarbera, the owner of the AHL record for most shutouts in a single season, was a legendary AHL goalie that never amounted to more than a perennial backup in the NHL. Matt Murray has shown more promise in his young career than LaBarbera so I’m not suggesting any type of flame out.
That’s one of the downsides to trading Murray. He’s proven he can play on the biggest of stages and help his team win a championship. Jarry could just be another one of those LaBarbera type goalies. He also could be a complete stud.
Of course, trading Murray would mean Fleury and Jarry would be your tandem in net and most can’t argue with the fact that it wouldn’t be a terrible package.
In conclusion, it’s very unlikely this scenario plays out. I’m not even saying I agree with the stance. With the goalie talent the Penguins have, they can afford to be burned on one of them. Given general manager Jim Rutherford‘s reputation, I highly doubt he’d part with Murray.