The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that they will be placing goaltender Matt Murray on the LTIR prior to the start of the 2023-24 season. No details on Murray’s injury were provided in the release, which will surely lead to a lot of speculation in the coming days. With Murray joining Jake Muzzin on LTIR, the Maple Leafs will remain $2.1MM over the salary cap, meaning that they will need to do some cap gymnastics in the coming weeks to try and get under the $83.5MM salary cap by October.
Murray’s first season in Toronto was a difficult one for the former two-time Stanley Cup champion as he battled inconsistency and injuries once again. The Thunder Bay, Ontario native hasn’t been able to steady his game or remain in the net since his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Murray was dealt by the Penguins to the Ottawa Senators in October 2020 and quickly signed a four-year extension worth $24MM. The deal was heavily criticized at the time as being too rich and too long for a goaltender that had struggled to stay healthy and consistent.
The Senators were then forced into a cap dump last summer as they traded Murray to the Maple Leafs along with two draft picks for future considerations. Trading for Murray was a good idea in theory from former general manager Kyle Dubas, however, in reality, the deal never worked out for Toronto as Murray was unable to bounce back or stay healthy. Murray dressed in just 26 games going 14-8-2 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
The move will effectively end any talks of a buyout, which is ultimately the best outcome for the player and team. Matt Murray will retain his entire $8MM salary for the upcoming season and the Leafs will be able to use the entire $4.7MM of the cap space that would have been allocated to Murray.
It is quite the fall from grace for a netminder who looked like a budding superstar just six years ago. Murray won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a rookie and looked like he was the future of the Penguins when the team moved on from franchise icon Marc-Andre Fleury. However, Murray’s career began to derail a short time later due to multiple injuries and inconsistent play and since then he has been unable to right the ship.