NHL Prospect Profile #54: Matt Murray
Drafted 83rd overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite being just 17 years old, Matt Murray started the season as the starting goalie for the OHL’s Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. While Murray struggled at times, he really improved over the course of the season. After losing the starting job when Sault Ste. Marie traded for Jack Campbell at mid season, Murray handled the situation well, and was ready when called upon. Murray was arguably Team Canada’s MVP (challenging Matt Dumba for the honour) as the team’s starting goalie in the IIHF World Championships. Murray would help lead the team to a Bronze medal. It might have been more, and Murray was fantastic in the semi-final against the eventual champs from the United stats. He nearly stole that game for Canada but came up just short in the end. It is expected that Murray will return to Sault Ste. Marie next year where he should once again be the Team’s number one goalie.
The goaltending position is becoming more and more a big man’s game, and at 6’4: Murray possesses the ideal size that NHL teams look for today. Murray is however very skinny with just 160 lbs on that 6.04 frame. He needs to put on some serious muscle mass and this will make him into a bit of a long term project before he will be able to reach the NHL.
Born May 25 1994 — Thunder Bay, ONT
Height 6.04 — Weight 160 — Shoots Left – Glove Left
Murray has a great glove hand. He is able to make a number of great glove saves. His legs are also extremely quick and he shuts down the bottom of the net well. He has very good reflexes and he shuts down the five hole rapidly and effectively, avoiding a major propble area for most tall goaltenders. His rebound control is good, and has gotten better as the year has gone on. Murray is strong positionally and comes far out of his net to cut down angles and reduce the amount of net that the shooter has to look at. He is almost always square to the shooter and recovers quickly to square up again on rebounds. His side to side movements are good, but not great, this is one area where he can improve.
Like many young goalies today Murray loves to come out of his net and handle the puck. However his skills in this aspect are average. His skating, even for a goaltender isn’t great and this can get him caught at times. He also needs a little bit of work on his puckhandling and passing which are adequate, but not great.
Murray’s mental game is good. He bounces back nicely from a bad goal or a bad game and doesn’t allow those things to linger. He is extremely confident in his net and at his best when he plays with that confidence coming far out of his net to challenge shooters. Murray’s ability to elevate his game in the critical moments during the IIHF U18 is also a very good sign for the young goalie.
Murray may be a few years away, and he’s a bit of a project. However Murray possesses great size and athleticism, and these attributes ensure that he has a ton of potential going forward. Murray could challenge for a number 1 job in time, however that is a few years away.
… and thats the Last Word.