Toronto Maple Leafs adds veteran goalkeeper for free agency, acquires Ottawa Senators’ Matt Murray

The Toronto Maple Leafs have acquired goalkeeper Matt Murray, a third-round selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft and a seventh-round selection in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for future considerations.

Ottawa will retain 25% of Murray’s salary as part of the transaction. Murray has two years left on his $6.25 million contract, leaving Toronto with a $4.7 million payout of Murray’s cap-hit over the next two years.

At this point, Murray, 28, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, expects to become the Maple Leafs’ starting netminder as incumbent Jack Campbell is set to hit the open market this week. Toronto had failed to find a middle ground with Campbell, the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper for the past season and a half. Campbell now joins Darcy Kuemper as the top free agent free-goers when the signing period officially begins on Wednesday at 12 noon ET.

The Maple Leafs traded last season’s backup, Petr Mrazek, for the Chicago Blackhawks last week. Murray is the only goalkeeper with extensive NHL experience Toronto has on next season’s roster, although the Maple Leafs will look for another seasoned netminder to join him.

Murray was drafted 83rd overall by Pittsburgh in the 2012 NHL Draft and began his career there as a backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. Murray won his consecutive titles in 2016 and 2017, becoming the first rookie goalkeeper to ever win consecutive Stanley Cup championships.

Murray was a pending restricted free agent when the Penguins traded him to Ottawa in October 2020 and the Senators signed him to a four-year, $25 million extension. The netminder struggled during his tenure in Canada’s capital, going 10-13-1 with a save rate of 0.893 and averaging 3.38 against his first season average.

In his sophomore season, Murray was scoreless for his first six games, and Ottawa quickly placed him on waivers in November 2021. After the veteran was unclaimed, he was demoted to the franchise’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Belleville Senators. He appeared in two minor-league games, with a 1-1-0 record and a .906 percentage.

Murray returned to the Senators in January and played well (5-3-2, .937) before suffering a few injuries late in the year. An upper-body ailment he suffered on March 5 against the Arizona Coyotes put Murray on an injured reserve and marked the last game he would play in a Senator’s uniform.

Now Murray will have a fresh start around some familiar faces. Murray played his junior hockey with Sault Ste of the Ontario Hockey League. Marie Greyhounds under Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe and general manager Kyle Dubas. He also has a long history with Jon Elkin, the Toronto goalkeeper evaluation and development coach. That could be enough to return Murray to his previous form as a capable No. 1 goalkeeper.

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