Report: Penguins’ Recall Of Matt Murray Could Be Long Term
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled goaltender Matt Murray from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Sunday morning. This recall comes on the heels of a 4-2 Pittsburgh loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in which Jeff Zatkoff started in place of an ill Marc-Andre Fleury.
Murray, the reigning AHL Goaltender of the Year, is widely considered one of the best prospects in North America. In 2014-15 with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he posted a .941 save percentage in 40 games. This season he has played 30 games for them with a .931, good for second in the league. He has played 4 games in the NHL this season with a .938 (.941 at even strength.)
Josh Yohe of DKPittsburghSports asked Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan whether there was a chance that Murray might be in Pittsburgh for the rest of the season. [Video available at this link. Transcription below.]
“Of course there’s a chance.”
“As I’ve said, the approach we’ve taken with this team has been one game at a time,” Sullivan said. “We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. I’ve said to you guys a number of times that we’ve penciled in games that are appropriate for the backup goalie. Nothing is etched in stone. We’re trying to put all of our players in position to be successful. Our goaltenders are the same way.”
Getting Murray playing time in the NHL is one of those “good problems” that teams like to have. Development requires both challenges and playing time, which in Murray’s case means NHL games. This is always a tough balance to strike, moreso when you have a starter playing as well as Fleury has been for Pittsburgh (.922 overall and .947 at even strength in 42 games this year.)
It has already been reported that trade requests concerning Murray have been “rebuffed” by Pittsburgh General Manager Jim Rutherford.
For now, Jeff Zatkoff remains on the Pittsburgh roster, but he will be a healthy scratch at today’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. He has played 13 games for Pittsburgh with a .917 overall and a .916 at even strength.