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The Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to solve their goaltending problem and their answer might be just a quick trip down Highway 401.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, trade talks between Toronto and the Ottawa Senators over goaltender Matt Murray have “intensified," as the Senators try to find a home for someone they don’t have a roster spot for.
With the Leafs trading netminder Petr Mrazek to Chicago during the draft last week and Jack Campbell on the brink of hitting the open market, Toronto might be caught without any solid options before free agency opens on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Murray has not found his former Stanley Cup-winning success since being traded to Ottawa from Pittsburgh two seasons ago. Through 47 appearances in the two injury-laden campaigns, Murray has posted an abysmal .899 save percentage for the Senators. That led to a waiver wire appearance last season and he was overtaken on the goalie depth chart by late-bloomer Anton Forsberg and youngster Filip Gustavsson.
Murray has two years remaining on a contract that holds a $6.25-million cap hit and since the Leafs have just over $10 million in projected cap space to sign at least one goaltender and two more forwards, some salary retention or contract swapping might be needed to make this potential trade work.
But why would Toronto want to take on a player like Murray? For one, there is the glaringly obvious answer: He played junior hockey for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. It has been reported Murray would waive his no-trade clause to make this reunion happen.
Murray would support a trade to either Edmonton or Toronto. https://t.co/qx56n42GdS
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 8, 2022
If the familiarity is not enough, by some advanced metrics – like Goals Saved Above Expected – Murray’s most recent season was actually well above average when other underlying factors were taken into consideration.
This is just another chapter in the ever-growing book of goaltending moves this offseason. It will surely be a spectacle once free agency opens at 12:00pm ET on Wednesday.
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