One of the intriguing storylines for the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins this season will be how the goaltending scenario plays out between Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray.
During a Wednesday morning radio discussion on Montreal’s TSN 690, Bob McKenzie was asked if there was anything Murray could do with his spot as the goaltender for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey ‘to make a stronger play at being the true No. 1’ for the Penguins.
“Well, he could just reinforce what’s obvious, and that is that he a No. 1 NHL goaltender on a team that’s already got Marc-Andre Fleury,” replied McKenzie. “But Marc-Andre Fleury has got a no-move clause. And, on top of that, as much as Pittsburgh has cap issues and what have you – as much as they might look at it objectively and say, ‘We really can’t afford to keep Fleury and Murray in the fold. One of them has got to go. It probably makes more sense to get rid of the older guy than the younger guy.’
“But again, it comes back to the no-move clause. But also they want a little more time for this thing to shake out. As good as he was in the playoffs, as good as he might be in the World Cup, I still think they like the insurance of having two goaltenders that they can count on. But sometime between now and the trade deadline – depending on injuries, performance, and all of those things that have yet to come – that’s when they could say, ‘Okay, we do have an embarrassment of riches at the position. It really behooves us to move one guy.’
“At the end of the day, if Murray is going to be a quasi-No. 1, even with Marc-Andre Fleury in the situation, at some point Fleury is going to say, ‘Hey, I want a new challenge. I want an opportunity to go somewhere where I am the guy and that I’m not in a diminished capacity because Murray is taking more and more games and slowly inching his way to being the true No. 1 on this team.’
The conversation picked up on McKenzie’s last point, with the possibility of the Penguins approaching Fleury about a trade to a team where he could be a No. 1 goaltender.
“I don’t think that’ll happen before the season. I could be wrong,” said McKenzie. “I don’t think the Pittsburgh Penguins will be really proactive in going to the market and saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got a goaltender here if you want.’
“I think they want to let this thing play out for the first couple of months of the season. See how Murray plays. See how Fleury plays. See what the health situation is of both guys. And as it unfolds, it’ll become apparent what’s obvious. That is if Murray continues to take more and more of the net, then Fleury won’t be happy about that. He’ll be much more inclined to make a move.
“But hey, who knows what happens in the first month or two of the season. If Fleury gets on a roll and Murray finds himself in a backup position, anything is possible.
“But as I say – the timetable on that one for me, we’re not at the crossroads on that one. I think that’s one that needs a month or two or three, or maybe even right to the trade deadline, for Pittsburgh to evaluate what they’ve got and how they want to proceed.”
Source: TSN 690/ Transcript: Nichols