Report: Flames asked Pittsburgh about Matt Murray

As we get closer and closer to the February 29 National Hockey League trade deadline, there will be some reports trickling out here and there about players being targeted by the Calgary Flames. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned one during tonight’s Headlines segment during Hockey Night in Canada.

According to Friedman, the Flames have inquired about the availability of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie prospect Matt Murray.

In short: Murray, 21, is a damn fine goaltender.

Originally drafted by the Penguins in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft (after a pretty solid OHL tenure with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), he’s presently playing with the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, where he’s put up really impressive numbers over the past two seasons:

  • 2014-15 (20 years old): 25-10-3 with a 1.58 goals against average and a .941 save percentage
  • 2014-15 (21 years old): 19-9-1 with a 2.11 goals against average and a .931 save percentage

Murray’s splitting time with former Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry, and he also has pretty great numbers as a first-year pro (11-3-2, 2.04 goals against average, .929 save percentage). He played four games with Pittsburgh this season, going 2-1-0 with a 1.77 goals against average and .938 save percentage.

It doesn’t shock me that the Flames are reportedly asking about Murray. He’s absolutely excellent, and the thought process is probably that since the Penguins have Marc-Andre Fleury signed long term and also have Jarry in the AHL that they may be open to moving Murray to upgrade another position.

For what it’s worth, Friedman also mentioned during Headlines that teams are being told that Murray is not available. But don’t be too shocked if the Flames make a move to set up their goaltending for next season (and going forward from there).

Is Murray the answer in net for the Flames? Or would the price necessary to land him be too steep? Sound off in the comments!

  • Sobueno

    Wonder if this means the team is less than confident in Gilles’ eventual recovery?

    Could also be they just don’t want to have a repeat of this season in the goaltending department once the team is ready to compete in the next couple years.

    • Joe Flames

      Good question. Our management has proved to themselves that we need more depth at the position. They are probably still high on Gillies, but Murray is further ahead in his development. If they can get him for a combination of Russell or Hudler and a pick/prospect, if would be a great pickup.
      He might be ready to play in the NHL now. Then when Gillies is ready they have a great trading chip as they won’t need two #1 goaltenders.

      Keep the rebuild moving forward by exchanging a veteran and a so-so prospect for a better prospect and give yourself potential to re-tool in a couple of years.

  • MontanaMan

    Gilles may or may not be the answer but regardless, the Flames need to upgrade the position. I like that BT is inquiring about up and coming tenders like Murray and prefer that the club upgrade with a goalie on his way up rather than on his way down like Howard or Ward. Going to be an interesting week.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Not to dwell on the past, but if the Flames still had Brossoit, there’d be zero issues in net on the farm/long-term, even with Gillies injured this season.

    • FeyWest

      Maybe maybe not, hard to really assess hindsight trades because it could have caused problems too with player development/deployment dynamics. This is why every trade is a risk and there’s reasons at the time of the trade it was done. We might be able to see it now but at the time it’s all up in the air, in the end I think it will be a wash and it probably wouldn’t have mattered in either case. I understand where you’re coming from though, as long as you can see the possible implications of not doing something as much as doing such trades/actions.

  • ApolloRising

    I hope the Flames can actually make this happen. He would be a great guy to have instead of Hiller. I could see Murry and Poulin being a great combination. I don’t see Ortio being a viable option anymore. But he would be better than Hiller. There’s no upside to playing Hiller. If you play Ortio you can see if he has what it takes and let him learn. Hiller just helps us lose. I will cry if the Flames resign him or if they trade for Bernier or Reimer. That’s a nightmare scenario.

  • KiLLKiND

    One question I have about Murray is if he has gotten the hip surgery Gilles got this year? This is essentially a required surgery for all goalies and he very well could end up being on the IR next year. I personally am waiting on this same surgery and have done my research on this surgery.

    In short the goalies hip joint bones rub together damaging the joint and can pinch the nerves. This is only repairable by reshaping the bones so they can glide past each other. The recovery time is quite lengthy and as far as I’m aware only 1 hip can be operated on at a time, this makes the entire process take twice as long.

    The next point about this surgery is good news. All reports show increased flexibility and strength in the hips after the surgery. Gilles is a great goalie and I’m sure he will be able to emerge from this even better than before. The same should go for Murray as well once he gets the surgery.

    Is Murray going to be better than Gilles is the real question and to this I have no idea. If we can somehow keep Gilles while acquiring Murray I’m all for it, but the cost of acquiring a potentially elite goalie is most likely not cheap. Mcdonald, and Russel for Murray and a 5th sounds about equal value to me.

  • Primo

    Shame shame Flames scouts. You had Martin Jones under your nose in the Saddledome for 4 years and failed to notice him. Was undrafted and the Kings signed him.

    Shame shame Flames scouts you drafted Mason McDonald over the best available goaltender Thatcher Demco who is going to be a star with the Canuckelheads. MacDonald remains a big question mark at this point….

  • RKD

    Guys like Gilles and McDonald are years away, Ortio is an unknown. Hiller and Ramo are not options. If the asking price is Hudler and/or Russell the Flames should do it if this guy is that good.

  • freethe flames

    Good to see BT is looking at all the options. Who knows what will transpire from it. I was looking at next years UFA market for goalies and am wondering who the Flames might be interested in? Reimer from Toronto; BB knows him and even playing behind the leafs D has managed to keep his save percentage above 900. Does anyone have any other suggestions.

  • freethe flames

    Completely off topic but the Heat won last night. Raymond with 2 goals including the winner in OT. Maybe someone will inquire about him as playoff depth player?(wishful thinking I know with his contract)

    However Agostino had 2 as well and is likely to have more this year than last. I’m hopeful that he will get a look soon. Arnold was back in the lineup and I’m not if it was his first game back but good to see him back again.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If this Murray kid is as promising as the stats given would appear to show, why would Pitt want to trade him for Calgary’s garbage? Pitt is not a Hudler and/or Russell rental away from a long cup run. Flames would have to sweeten the pot a lot and as far as I can see, the Flames barely have a pot to piss in let alone one to give away that is coveted by other tams.

    As for Marty Jones, I have often wondered why the Flames have seemingly not paid enough attention to the Hitmen in their midst. They have only ever drafted a few of them. Hitmen have a stud in local kid Jake Bean who is draft eligible in June. Do you want to bet the Flames pass on Bean, who many think, including me, will become a top-pairing NHL defenseman? You could argue that the Flames have more urgent needs than at defence, but considering how bad the defence has been this year and the leader is on the wrong side of 30, why would Jake Bean be wrong for the Flames?

    • Burnward

      Re: Murray. Their window is about three-four years long. The East is a gong show outside Wash. Not a bad year to load up and make a run. Your comments about a pot are ridiculous.

      Re: Bean. All depends where they pick. Early second is the only chance at the moment.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        What are Calgary’s golden trade pots? I strongly doubt Hudler or Russell are any team’s last missing piece or pieces. Heck, I maintain that the team most in need of Hudler is the Flames. You can’t expect much back if either is dealt because they are rentals. After those two, the Flames have bodies to move, but they are more just depth talent for teams wanting to make a run.

        I really don’t care if the Flames can bring in right-now help before the deadline. Trim payroll and add draft picks would be super.

        Bean will go in the first half of the first round. If the Flames draft outside of the top 5, it will be gross incompetence if they don’t draft Bean, like when they drafted Dion instead of Zachie.

    • piscera.infada

      I too like Bean, and have been vehemently arguing as early as last season that if the Flames end up with a mid-first pick, they need to use it on Bean. Guy’s a fantastic hockey player. That’s why the Flames need to sell whatever they can, and load up on a good deal of additional picks. Treliving showed last year that he is good at moving around the draft board (with the Kylington pick). I’ve always wondered why this isn’t a strategy used so much in hockey (it’s absolutely massive in the NFL). If you don’t get another first at the TDL, and Bean’s available at a point where it’s possible, package up some seconds (and a roster player/prospect if you need to), and get the kid.

      I do, however, have an issue with the argument that “[Jones] was right under their nose”. Yes, literally, he was. That doesn’t mean that the Flames should, or would, be scouting the Hitmen any more than any other teams. Sure, they probably scout Hitmen games more than most, but that’s probably a function of seeing players that come through the Saddledome. I’m not super concerned that Flames don’t seem to draft a lot of Hitmen. I would be however, if the opposite was true. This is NHL scouting. Talent is scattered all over the place. Putting more credence into a team you (loosely) control, can very much have deleterious effects.

        • piscera.infada

          As comparables for Bean? I mean, you can make that case for just about anyone. But, I mean, that’s your prerogative–although, I don’t see a Reinhart comparison at all. I like the kid a lot, and watch him play frequently. I personally don’t like Chychrun, but that’s me.

        • piscera.infada

          For example. Griffin Reinhart scouting report out of junior basically reads thusly: Good defensive instincts, NHL-ready size, lack of explosive stride, relatively poor foot speed. Basically, your classic “high-floor, low-ceiling” pick. He should have never been a fourth overall pick. He didn’t have the talent then, and he doesn’t now–his best scoring season in the WHL was 36 points in 58 games in his draft year.

          Bean on the other hand: Undersized, plus-skating, plus instincts, great offensive ability, late-bloomer, needs work in his own zone. His size is a concern moving forward, but “everything else is NHL-level talent”. Basically, your classic “low-floor, high-ceiling” pick. As undrafted in the bantam draft, he put up 39 points in 51 games as a rookie in the WHL last year. This season, his draft year, he’s put up 53 points in 57 games (with 22 goals). I’m not saying he’s the perfect prospect, but as a player commonly seen in the middle to late first round, I would definitely consider him a good pick.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        Costs the Flames nothing to scout Hitmen games. Also they can get all the dope on the players from the Hitmen staff. They don’t have to worry about gathering reliable character assessments and psychological profiles as they do on other players leading up to the draft. The info is a few offices away. I am not sure they have taken advantage of the Hitmen as much as they could have.

        I do agree with your point that “deleterious effects” would occur if the Flames take a navel gazing approach to the Hitmen.

        • piscera.infada

          Don’t necessarily disagree with any of that, just saying the argument is largely over-simplified. Haven’t the Flames technically only owned the Hitmen recently as well, or am I out to lunch on that?

          I mean, the point stands, but it’s a lot more difficult than just “having player ‘x’ under your nose”.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            The Flames scouting dossier on the Hitmen should be more thorough than on any other players simply because of the ease of obtaining complete information. (What they do with that info is another point.) Regardless of how long the Flames have owned the Hitmen–I think it has been about 5 to 7 years–they have always shared the same business, training, practice and game facilities with the Hitmen.

            The Hitmen have been a pretty solid and successful franchise over the past 15+ years, so the question needs to be asked if the Flames–who have been the opposite over the same period–have fully utilized this resource in their own backyard.

  • Kevin R

    Besides the ridiculous comment on sports net about Bennett for Murray, what would people realistically part with to get the kid. The idea of having Murray & Gilles fighting for the crease in a few years & Macdonald honing his skills in Stockton, that has a bit of Anaheim flavour to it. Extra low cap hit on a few really good potential goalies, possibly bringing in one of these journeyman cheaper options to have around could have huge positive affects on the team. Pitt has been bleeding prospects & #1’s on rentals for years & have depleted their youth/depth. Would a Granlund/Hickey be enough of an overpayment to pry this kid from them? I know we like Hickey’s potential but with Andersson & Kylington in the pipe & the youth of Brodie & Hamilton, this would appear to be a big piece of the rebuild in my view.