Ottawa Senators Can Correct Matt Murray’s Mistakes By Targeting These 3 Targets

When Ottawa Senator traded to Matt Murray in the 2020 NHL Draft, it looks like a great fit. The two-time Stanley Cup champion’s commercial value is low, despite his earlier success in Pittsburgh. Beaten by Tristan Jarry, he took a year or two off, but playoff performances over the years have cemented his status as a clutch goalscorer.

Regardless of his past success, the Senators made the mistake of dealing with Murray, and an even bigger mistake when they signed a four-year, $25 million deal with him. that.

Matt Murray Senator of Ottawa
Matt Murray, Senator of Ottawa (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As an interesting comparison, let’s take a look at the career of Cam Ward.

(For reference, here’s their similar career stats: Ward’s career savings rate (SV%) is 0.908; Murray’s is 0.911. Ward’s career goals vs. average (GAA) is 2.74; Murray’s is 2.75.)

Cam Ward

Ward has had a similar career trajectory to Murray. Ward joined the NHL at the age of 21 and won the Stanley Cup during his rookie season, while also scoring against Conn Smythe. He then had a couple of years of good stats, reaching a career-high 0.923 SV% during the 2010-11 season.

Typhoon Cam
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes, March 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / Hockey writers)

But in the years that followed, Ward suffered from injury problems. A lingering injury to his lower body left him playing only 47 games over a two-year period. In the end, he ended his career admirably, but never returned to the level at which he won the Cup in his first year.

Back to Murray

While Murray has had a fantastic career so far, he hasn’t been himself since the stellar 2018-19 season in which he won 29-14-6 with 0.919 SV% and 2.69 GAA. He has had persistent concussion problems and has recently knee to head from everyone’s favorite smasher Chris Kreider.

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Throughout the efforts of the Senators to support him, he was simply not consistent enough. They hired a New goalscoring coach last April, hoping to make some changes to his playstyle. It may be too early to give him up, but the sale and signing was certainly a mistake. If there is any chance of reclaiming some of his value, there are several realistic options on the market.

Linus Ullmark

Linus Ullmark got off to a slow start in Boston. His .903 SV% and 3.01 GAA leave something to be desired. The Bruins have lost Krejci this season, but could still contest a spot in the Stanley Cup by playoff time. They need more from him in the network, which can make him spendable.

Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins
Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / Hockey writers)

This season, Ullmark has been dominated by younger teammate Jeremy Swayman. This is a similar situation that Murray traded for from Penguins. However, the key difference between Murray and Ullmark is that Ullmark has no history of serious injuries. Additionally, he has shown that he can thwart poor teams to win, as he did at Buffalo last season.

His trading value is somewhat low at the moment, and he stands at the $5 million cap instead of Murray’s $6.25 million. A potential one-for-one swap reminds me of the Milan Lucic for James Neal deal a few years ago; Two high limit, low value players looking for a change of scenery. Senators may have to offer a low-level lead or pick at the end of the round to sweeten the deal.

Daniel Vladar

Daniel Vladar got off to a fascinating start this year in Calgary. After an off-season trade from Boston, he owns 0.933 SV% and sparkly 1.96 GAA. He’s a good find for the Flames, who currently have one of the NHL’s two best punches into the fold with him and Jacob Markstrom.

Dan Vladar the Flame of Calgary
Dan Vladar, The Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / Hockey writers)

However, Vladar has a slightly larger risk to trade off than Ullmark. He was never a legitimate NHL starter, but he had a lot of AHL success. He’s a great size 6 foot-5 tall and he’s only 24 years old. His contract expires after the 2022-23 season and he could be at a loss due to Markstrom’s excellence so far.

The best strategy to get Vladar would be to continue to monitor his play and potentially switch to him at the end of the season or during the break before he becomes a restricted free agent. limited in 2023. His cap is $750,000, providing exceptional value to Senators.

Eric Comrie

Eric Comrie has been up and down, through the minor and giving up over the past few years. He played for the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils before returning to the Winnipeg Jets on a one-year deal this year.

Eric Comrie Winnipeg Jets
Eric Comrie, Winnipeg Jets (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

But the 26-year-old is playing superbly so far in 2021, with 0.926 SV% and 1.98 GAA. It’s a small sample size, but his AHL pedigree is also solid. Like Vladar, he has no experience as a number one goalkeeper, but has shown potential throughout his career.

He’s currently signed to a one-year, $750,000 contract and is likely to be available immediately, for the right price. He’s a risky pick, but if the Senators wait a bit to see how he performs, he could be a great addition to the deadline.

Another choice

The Senators may not be mesmerized by any of these three goalkeepers. But they couldn’t have done better with Murray, who was frequently injured and overpaid. He has proven himself to be a clutch keeper in the past, but if he can’t play consistently enough to send the Senators into the knockout stages, his clutch performance could be overlooked. .

If they continue from him, they can use a parallel script, shared with any of Ullmark/Vladar/Comrie and Filip Gustavsson. A healthy goalkeeping rivalry could be just what they need to keep this team competitive in the near future. Ottawa Senators Can Correct Matt Murray’s Mistakes By Targeting These 3 Targets

Subhankar Mondal

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