After winning the 2016 Stanley Cup with him in net, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had to play the waiting game when it comes to getting goaltender Matt Murray in the lineup this season. He’s been out with a broken hand for the entirety of the year so far, including preseason action following the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto.
Now, though, he’s ready to finally draw in.
Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed on Friday afternoon that Murray has been participating in regular practices, and should be seeing action as the starter in one of the team’s two upcoming games following tomorrow’s bout against the Flyers.
“I’ve been going full-speed now for almost two weeks,” Murray said. “You can’t really duplicate a game in practice, so that’s the final step.”
The Penguins play in Anaheim Wednesday and Los Angeles Thursday. Early indications are that Murray will start one of those games.
Drafted 83rd overall by the Metropolitan Division club in 2012, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native was extremely successful during his junior career with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds before going pro in 2014.
During the last two full seasons, the 22-year-old netminder has managed to rack up impressive stats in both the AHL and the NHL, failing to post below a .920 at either level in any full season. He then filled in for incumbent starter Marc-Andre Fleury during the 2016 postseason due to a concussion for the older goaltender, and helped lead the team to their first cup since 2009.
For Pittsburgh, there are still questions regarding whether or not they’ll have to expose one of Fleury or Murray in the upcoming NHL expansion draft – so gaining him back won’t answer all the questions the club has in net. With his stellar play in recent years, though, they’re likely happy to see him return nonetheless.