The NHL is filled with elite goaltenders. Henrik Lundqvist is the king of all goalies playing today. Carey Price, Jonathan Quick, Martin Jones, and Braden Holtby have cemented themselves as elite level goaltenders. Cory Schneider, Mike Smith, and Ben Bishop are great goaltenders playing behind below average teams.
There are so many great goalies, that it’s hard to narrow down who deserves recognition. One of those guys is Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
Underrated Stanley Cup champion
You may be asking, “Matt Murray is a Stanley Cup Champion, how can he be underrated?” What Murray did last season and what he has done this year is beyond what most people think about.
Murray took the starting job with about 12 games left in the season, and led his team to a Stanley Cup championship, making incredible saves, holding the Penguins in the playoffs at times when they didn’t look like they should be there. Murray outplayed Jones in the finals and ended up with more starts and wins in the playoffs than the regular season.
New season, same Murray
Fast forward into this season, Matt Murray started the season injured, worked his way back, took on more starts by splitting time with Marc-Andre Fleury, and now is clearly the starter. Murray is the guy in Pittsburgh now.
Murray is 21-7-3 this season and ranks in the top ten of both goals against average and save percentage in the NHL. Murray has blown the competition out of the water among rookie goaltenders too, with no other goalie earning more than six wins.
Murray sits on a team with huge names in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang. New guys are coming out of the woodwork every day and most of the headlines go towards the two-headed monster.
It’s hard for attention to be placed on Murray in Pittsburgh and that might be a good thing. Murray can develop without too much pressure and it seems that the Penguins don’t mind throwing the rookie into the fire.
Most rookie goalies aren’t thrown right into the NHL. They are eased in and start as a back-up. Murray has forced the Penguins to play him, and he looks better with every game. He is incredible at recovery; if he is lit up for a couple of goals, it doesn’t bother him, he moves onto the next save, period, or game.
Murray doesn’t get tested like other goalies, however. The Penguins are so quick that most of the shots at Murray come in bunches and on fast breaks.
The reason that Murray is so underrated is because of the consideration he is getting for the Calder Trophy, which is virtually none. It’s been the Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine show so far, while Murray has been consistent all season.
Murray may have a few things going against him, in terms of a huge ring, for what people consider a rookie, but Murray deserves to be nominated for the Calder, and hopefully, the rest of the NHL sees that too.
Is Matt Murray a top contender for the Calder Trophy, should he be? Have your say in the comments section below.