Before the start of NHL action on Friday, Ottawa Senators coach DJ Smith announced that goaltender Matt Murray won’t play on Saturday. Smith said that Murray is dealing with an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated after the game.
DJ Smith – Matt Murray wont play tomorrow. Upper Body Injury. Hogberg will start and Gustavsson will back up. We will re-evaluate after tomorrow's game see where we go from there.
— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) February 12, 2021
Matt Murray Dealing With Injury
Ottawa Senators starting goaltender Matt Murray did not play in the third period in their game against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. It was announced that he would be out due to an upper-body injury. Marcus Hogberg will claim the crease for the time being. The timetable for Murray’s return is unclear at this point. A re-evaluation will happen, and the determination will tell whether Murray can play in the upcoming games.
Murray’s start this season has been underwhelming. The idea was to get a fresh start with a young Ottawa team. So far, that plan has not come to fruition. Murray had a solid stretch of outings against the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens. However, his overall contributions this season have not been up to snuff. Murray has posted an abysmal .882 save percentage and 3.69 goals-against-average, good for 25th and 24th respectively among goaltenders with a minimum of seven games played.
Additionally, he has an almost league-worst goals saved above expected per Evolving-Hockey at -7.61. That puts him at 37th out of 39 goalies with a minimum of 200 FA (Fenwick Against). Despite essentially being a team stat, his record has not helped his status among NHL media and fans. A 2-7-1 record does not reflect well, especially when a four-year contract worth $6.25 million AAV per CapFriendly is attached to your name.
What Do the Senators Do?
Despite his very rough moments this season, Murray helps make the Senators less of a laughing stock on paper. He brings a name to a roster without one outside of Tim Stützle and Evgenii Dadonov. The injury is most likely short-term, so the Senators coaching staff does not have to fret too much. It’s also good that the team isn’t in any form of a playoff race. Injuries are far more bearable in that situation. The injury still hurts the team, though, as does any damage to your marquee player. DJ Smith will most likely go with the tandem he will be played on Thursday for the foreseeable future until Murray can return fully. When that will be is unclear, but for the Senators sake, it better be soon.