Toronto Maple Leafs adds experienced goalkeeper in front of free agency, get Matt Murray from Ottawa Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs have chosen goaltender Matt Murray, third-round pick in the 2023 NHL entry draft and seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL entry draft, in exchange for future thoughts.

Ottawa will retain 25% of Murray’s salary as part of the trade. Murray has two years left on his 25 6.25 million contract, which means Toronto will reach Murray’s 4.7 million cap over the next two years.

Currently, the 28-year-old, two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Maple Leafs is launching the Netminder project, as current Jack Campbell prepares to hit the open market this week. Toronto failed to find center ground for center Campbell, the team’s No. 1 goal last season. Campbell now joins Darcy Kumper as the top unregulated free-agent goaltender target when the signing period officially opens on Wednesday at 12 ET.

Maple Leafs traded last season’s backup Peter Merjek to the Chicago Blackhawks last week. Murray is the only goalkeeper with extensive NHL experience on Toronto’s next season’s roster, yet Maple Leafs will pursue a more experienced netminder to complement him.

Marela Pittsburgh finished 83rd overall in the 2012 NHL Draft and began her career with the support of Mark-Andre Fleury. Murray won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017 and became the first goal scorer to win the Stanley Cup Championship in a row.

Murray was a pending banned free agent when the Penguins traded it in Ottawa in October 2020, and senators signed him for a four-year, 25 million extension. NetMinder struggled 10-13-1 with a .893 savings percentage and 3.38 goals in his entire career in the Canadian capital – much higher than his first season average.

In his second season, Murray did not win his first six games and Ottawa granted him an immediate pardon in November 2021. After not claiming to be an experienced player, he was demoted to Belleville Senator, affiliated with the franchise’s American Hockey League. He appeared in two short-league games with a 1-1-0 record and .906 percent.

Murray returned to the senators in January and played well before facing a pair of injuries at the end of the year (5-3-2, .937). On March 5, Marella suffered an upper body injury against the Arizona Coyotes and was scheduled to play in the finals in a senator’s uniform.

Now, Marella will make a fresh start around some familiar faces. Murray played his junior hockey with Salt Stacey of the Ontario Hockey League. Mary Greyhounds, led by Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe and general manager Kyle Dubas. He has a long history with Toronto’s goal center evaluation and development coach John Elkin. This is enough to bring Marela back to his former form as a capable No. 1 goalkeeper.

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