Out of pure necessity, the Ottawa Senators have recalled Matt Murray from the AHL. Both Filip Gustavsson and Anton Forsberg are in the COVID protocol, leaving the team without a goaltender on the active roster.
With the Senators off until Friday, there is a chance that Gustavsson could be activated in time to play. But even if he has experienced mild or no symptoms, it may be wise to give him a few days of practice before putting him back in the net. That would leave Murray as the only option, despite him not proving much has changed in the weeks since he was sent to the AHL.
The 27-year-old netminder, who has two Stanley Cups and a hefty contract to his name, was sent to the AHL after another poor start to the season. Since arriving in Ottawa, Murray has an .892 save percentage in 33 appearances, winning just ten of those games. Those numbers improved during his time in the minor leagues, but he was only able to appear in two games for the Belleville Senators given their own COVID issues. The fact that he only faced 61 AHL shots certainly doesn’t inspire much confidence that he’s turned around his game.
Still, the absolute best outcome here for the Senators is Murray playing well enough to stay in the NHL. With a contract that carries a $6.25MM cap hit through the 2023-24 season, getting some value out of the veteran netminder is imperative.