Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Murray Signs Three-Year Extension GM Says It Does Not Affect Team's Plans for Expansion Draft

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Murray Signs Three-Year Extension GM Says It Does Not Affect Team's Plans for Expansion Draft

Article excerpt

When the Penguins announced Thursday that they had signed goaltender Matt Murray to a three-year contract extension, the immediate reaction was that it was another step toward Marc-Andre Fleury's eventual departure from Pittsburgh.

One man who didn't share that viewpoint, though, is the one who will ultimately be tasked with making that decision.

"The focus seems to be on what happens with Marc-Andre, but let's let this play itself out first," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said after the team's morning skate.

"Let's not just presume that Marc is automatically out. He's been the franchise goalie here, he is a terrific person, he's a terrific player, and I think that assumption, we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves."

OK, so let's back up.

What Murray's signing means is that the Penguins have a promising young goaltender under contract through the 2019-20 season. Still just 22, Murray went 9-2-1 last year in the regular season with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage. He led the Penguins to their fourth Stanley Cup with 15 postseason wins, a 2.08 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage in the playoffs.

He is still recovering from a broken finger in last month's World Cup of Hockey but rejoined his Penguins teammates for practice this week.

Murray's new deal will kick in next season, and he will make an average of $3.75 million for the three seasons under the extension.

Murray's camp and the Penguins began negotiations during training camp, and there always was a general sense that this sort of deal would get done.

"We've been talking for maybe about a month or so," Murray said. "Nobody was in any big hurry, I don't think. We both wanted a fair deal. I think in the end it worked out pretty well for both sides."

The deal falls in line with the one Tampa Bay signed with goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy this summer (three years, $3.5 million annually). The Lightning were in a similar situation to the Penguins, with an established veteran (Ben Bishop) under contract, a promising young goalie in Vasilevskiy and the expansion draft for Las Vegas looming next summer. …

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