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Maple Leafs and Senators looking to do a Matt Murray deal: report

Who doesn’t like a spicy trade rumour on a Sunday afternoon?

Ottawa Senators v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Andrew Lahodynskyj/NHLI via Getty Images

First it was just Kyle Dubas poking around. Then it sounded serious, and then it seemed to be off, and now it might be back on again.

What you ask? This:

Matt Murray was famously signed with much fanfare by the Ottawa Senators for four years at $6.25 million on October 9, 2020. His deal also includes a 10-team no-trade clause for this season that’s just ending, next season and the final year.

This is a very bad contract.

Murray has played 47 games for the Senators, posting an all-situations save % of .893 and then .906 this season. That most recent number is okay, that’s around league average this year, but it’s only 20 games. That’s way too small a number to judge from.

Murray refused to waive his no-trade for a sweet deal to the Buffalo Sabres that would have seen him playing to rehabilitate his career. He stuck to his guns that he didn’t want to go there, and now here we are. The Senators are really angry, maybe angry enough to lower the price, and Murray has a very short list of teams he’d go to who could conceivably want him. One is Toronto.

This was the deal:

So really, it’s a price going up. That is, Ottawa has to pay a team to take Murray. I get the temptation. The truth is, that if you look at five years of Murray’s results, he’s a good goalie. Most of that good was in Pittsburgh and most of the bad was recently in Ottawa, and so this is a major gamble.

All of this is taking place against a back drop of two high-profile free agents looking for a deal not much less awe-inspiring that Murray’s and a Stanley Cup Champion that said, “You know, we’ll just score our way to a repeat, thanks.” I firmly believe that fans and media both vastly and absurdly overrate the value of goaltending. Truisms about needing to draft an elite goaltender or else bankrupt the team buying one abound, and yet that’s not really true. It’s really fun to play in front of Igor Shesterkin, one imagines, and he likely is the only reason the Rangers even made the playoffs, but that formula is not the only way to win in hockey.

That’s good because there’s only two or three goalies in any given year that lay down seasons approaching his. You can’t go and buy that. You can only buy something in the range of terrible to very good. And we all know how hard it is to figure out who is who.

Look! It’s me talking myself into this. We don’t know yet if I have to convince myself this is okay, because we don’t know if this deal will get made, but at least we’ll have something new to complain about if it happens. Until then, have this relaxing photo of a nice view:

International bridge to the United States from Sault Ste Marie Ontario Canada
International bridge to the United States from Sault Ste Marie Ontario Canada
Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Update-ish: