According to hockey insider Nick Kypreos, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins are currently looking into a blockbuster goalie swap surrounding Matt Murray and Frederik Andersen.
Last week, Pittsburgh was eliminated from the playoffs for the third straight season. Yet another poor result has left the organization with many questions heading into next season. Jim Rutherford, the team’s general manager, stated that there’s going to be a lot of changes, and has already fired all of the team’s assistant coaches. One of the biggest puzzles Rutherford will be faced with this offseason is choosing between restricted free agents Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry.
This season Murray, who was their starter for their playoff runs in 2016 and 2017, has struggled immensely posting a .899 save percentage in 38 starts this year. Although he did struggle, Rutherford said he was confident Murray could be a solid number one for the 2020 playoffs. Jarry, who was the clear backup to begin the season, gained a lot of playing time after Murray had a horrible November. His 2.43 GAA and .921 save percentage earned him a spot as an injury replacement for the All Star Game.
While Murray is proven and Jarry is promising, there’s a couple reasons why they’d want to move on from their tandem. First of all, this offseason the Penguins are going to have hard decisions to make regarding contracts. Both goalies are restricted free agents and they both will want big contracts and the team doesn’t have the cap space to satisfy both of them.
Secondly, Pittsburgh’s core is aging slowly and their winning window is closing, if they want to win they’re going to have to trade for assets. Both Matt Murray and Jarry have the potential to become a team’s franchise goalie so they should get a big return.
The Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series in 15 years, so there’s no doubt changes are coming this off season. I firmly believe both Murray and Andersen could benefit from a change of scenery. All though Andersen has had a lot of regular season success, he hasn’t done well at all when it matters in the playoffs.
This might be the perfect opportunity for Toronto to start a massive overhaul of their team. While they have a lot of star power, they lack a lot of depth that they simply can’t afford. Andersen could be the first of many to be dealt. All though I do think Toronto would have to add some other assests with Andersen to acquire Murray, in my opinion, I could very well see both Toronto and Pittsburgh coming out as winners in this scenario.
Andersen would represent a cheaper deal than what is expected of Murray’s new contract and could become the Penguins new starter, he’d fit right in with their win now core. As for Murray, he’d fit right in with Toronto’s young core of players and could hopefully back a potential dynasty alongside Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Taveres.
While this is all speculation, I can assure that both the Maple Leafs and the Penguins are going to be amongst the most active teams this offseason.
We are going to be following and updating as the off-season goes on.
Picture source : USAToday
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