The weekend was a treasure trove of Matt Murray and Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors. However, in the end, there can be only one…that comes true. Pittsburgh Hockey did not report multiple things we heard because they seemingly changed faster than we could type, which should tell you just how much is going on across the league and with the Penguins.
One thing Pittsburgh Hockey Now was told: a combo with Murray and defenseman Jack Johnson is possible. That tidbit did not come from the Penguins side, so it is unverified, and there has been some manure spreading from teams this offseason.
To whit, on Saturday, we heard a Western Conference team would give the Penguins a second or third-rounder for Murray and Jack Johnson. But that didn’t come to pass, and one would think if it were actually on the table, GM Jim Rutherford would have snatched it up.
So, see above. With the NHL Draft and free-agent frenzy set to begin on Wednesday through Friday, there’s lots of noise, lots of talks, and what may have been true a minute ago can quickly be untrue.
In the meantime, keep an eye on the Alberta province as a darkhorse (full Stampeder pun intended).
Rather than a daily links column, here are the ones which specifically involve Matt Murray and the pending Penguins trade.
Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun cites ongoing speculation that Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas wants a Soo reunion with Murray and Jack Campbell. Both were Dubas’ goalies in Sault Ste. Marie and Campbell is already in Toronto. (Toronto Sun)
Dubas told Toronto goalie Frederick Andersen that he’s not being shopped, but teams have called. So, Toronto may find the right taker and swoops in for Murray. It remains a long shot, but Dubas has been a wunderkind with outside the box thinking.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported the Chicago Blackhawks have shown more than a passing interest in Murray (Ottawa Sun)
Corey Crawford is set to become a UFA, and it looks like he’s done in Chicago, which just doesn’t seem right, but welcome to the professional sports landscape.
Murray Qualifying Offer
There is an inherent danger in the Penguins keeping Murray past 5 p.m on Tuesday. The Penguins must tender a qualifying offer by then or lose their rights to Murray. However, if the Penguins tender an offer of $3.75 million, they could be over the salary cap if Murray accepts it.
Teams may exceed the cap by 10% during the offseason, so there would not be a penalty, but it would make a sticky situation even messier.
Now, there have also been rampant rumors across the league that the Penguins may be forced to walk away from Murray without a return. TSN Insider Darren Dreger firmly reported that it isn’t plausible.
“That will NOT happen,” Dreger said this weekend as he addressed that speculation.
However, if Matt Murray were to accept the QO, then the game changes again. Murray would have some incentive to accept the qualifying offer. For starters, the QO is a one-year contract. Murray would be an UNRESTRICTED free agent next offseason, able to chose his destination based on the situation or biggest paycheck, or both.
Given then chaotic goalie scene, perhaps waiting a year and choosing his path would be enticing to Murray?
There are rumors and chatter surrounding the coming Penguins trade, but nothing concrete—saddle up.