The Edmonton Oilers could have an opening in net alongside Mikko Koskinen for next season if they decide against bringing back Mike Smith, and they’re at least poking around the league to see what the price tag is on some other options. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports that the Oilers spoke with the Pittsburgh Penguins regarding Matt Murray, who is quite publicly on the block after Tristan Jarry took over as the starter this season. According to LeBrun, the asking price was too high for Edmonton (he suggests it could have been a first-round pick) and they haven’t entirely ruled out bringing back Smith.
Murray, 26, is available after Penguins GM Jim Rutherford was clear about his need to trade one of his goalies. The two-time Stanley Cup winner’s name will likely come up connected to every franchise looking for an upgrade in net until he’s dealt, given how many boxes he ticks. Relatively young? Check. History of success? Check. Team control but not locked into a long-term contract? Check.
A restricted free agent this offseason, Murray could potentially opt for arbitration and force his way to UFA status in 2021, but there is obviously also an opportunity to work out a multi-year deal for any acquiring team. The 6’4″ netminder posted a dreadful .899 save percentage during the regular season but has been much better in years past, plus has a sparkling .921 in 51 postseason appearances. There are goalies who go their whole career without getting into 50 playoff games, but Murray won his second Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins just a few days after his 23rd birthday.
With so many goaltenders set to move around the league this fall, it could benefit a team like Edmonton to wait and see who is left out in the cold. The team doesn’t have a lot of cap space to spend and are already paying Koskinen $4.5MM in each of the next two years. With excellent tandem names like Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, or even Corey Crawford on the market, paying up for Murray at this point—especially if it costs a first-round pick—would likely be a mistake.