The Pittsburgh Penguins announced a three-year contract extension for Matt Murray Thursday carrying an AAV of $3.75 million.
With the expansion draft for the new Las Vegas franchise looming in June – and with the NHL having that pesky salary cap – conventional wisdom has been that Murray, 22, would remain with the Penguins while Fleury, 31, would be dealt at some point before the trade deadline.
General manager Jim Rutherford poured a little cold water on that notion while discussing Murray’s extension Thursday though.
The other factor in the Murray-Fleury dynamic, aside from age, has been Fleury’s modified no-trade clause and no-move clause – specifically the latter of those two.
When the NHL announced the expansion draft rules a few months ago, in June, this was the wording made available to media and fans:
All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft (and who to decline to waive such clauses) must be protected (and will be counted toward their club’s applicable protection limits).
NHL Insider Darren Dreger shed a bit more insight into what could be coming on the NMC front while discussing the Murray extension Thursday afternoon on Toronto’s TSN 1050, when he was asked what he thinks the contract news will mean for Fleury.
“Matt Murray is the future of the Pittsburgh Penguins in goal. That’s not a secret,” said Dreger. “Unless something horrible happens to his game this season, and that seems highly unlikely given how he played in a pressure-packed scenario of the Stanley Cup Final and did extremely well.
“Every time I’ve talked to Jimmy Rutherford about this, he just flat-out says, ‘Not sure. Don’t know.’
“And I like the way that he and other managers are managing this. Now, at some point they’re going to have to make a decision as to what goaltender they’re going to expose and it’s believed to be Marc-Andre Fleury. And there’s some complications with all of that. I know the Players’ Association and the league will continue to work on the specifics of which players with no-moves and all of that can be thrown on to the unprotected list.
“But it seems likely that Fleury will be impacted. But he’s playing good hockey too, isn’t he, right now? And as long as he continues to play well, then that makes it more complicated for Jim Rutherford. And if there’s an opportunity for Marc-Andre Fleury that he wants to take advantage of, then that’s good for him long-term as well.”
Source: TSN 1050
For reference: Covering the Insiders