Matt Murray signs three-year extension with Penguins

Matt Murray has signed a three-year extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have an interesting dilemma in net. It has perhaps been solved past this season because the Penguins have signed young goaltender Matt Murray to a three-year extension with an annual cap hit of $3.75 million.

Murray, 22, backstopped the Penguins to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup championship in June, becoming just the fourth rookie goalie in NHL history to lead his team to a championship. Murray racked up 15 postseason wins along the way, equaling the NHL record for wins by a rookie netminder.

This extension is very similar to the one given to Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in the offseason. His extension likely means the end of Ben Bishop’s tenure in Tampa Bay after this season. Likewise, Murray’s extension could mean the end of the Marc-Andre Fleury era in Pittsburgh. At the very least, it appears Fleury will be the goaltender the Penguins expose at the expansion draft next summer.

The Penguins get Murray for a very reasonable extension. A long-term deal never made sense because of Murray’s small sample size. Many goalies before Murray have had impressive starts only to flounder thereafter. However, a short-term deal makes sense for both sides. It allows the Penguins to further evaluate Murray to see if he is worth the kind of contract given to a franchise goaltender. For Murray, it gives him some stability and likely gives him a chance to prove he’s a franchise goaltender.

Last season, Murray stepped in for Fleury following an injury. In 13 regular season games, Murray had a .930 save percentage with a record of 9-3-1. Murray was the starter in the postseason, starting 21 games with a 15-6-0 record and a .923 save percentage. The Penguins goaltender helped lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup. He could become the first goalie since Ken Dryden to win a Stanley Cup before winning the Calder Trophy.

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