You may have forgotten because we have all been witnessing him play in 2 different seasons for almost a year now, but Matt Murray is still technically a rookie. There is a healthy embarrassment of riches for roookie and 2nd year players right now in hockey. That is a great thing, and Murray is 1 of the leaders of the pack. By year’s end, he should be at the NHL Awards Show in Vegas to at least be considered for Rookie of the Year honors.
Shutting out the Vancouver Canucks the other night, Murray tied the Penguins record for most shutouts by a rookie with 4. Yeah that doesn’t seem like much, but when you include the volume of games he played last year and obviously all he did in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoff cup winning run, Matty M is jumping higher than many other goalies at his age.
This year included, Murray steps up his game when needed. He stops 2 on 1’s, breakaways, and above most all remains a constant impassable brick in net. Murray never over reacts to the momentum of the game, he plays to what he knows. For a rookie age, he has a veteran mentality. I can’t tell you how many times Matt Murray plays his best hockey in the 3rd period, he slams the door shut and suffocates any chance of a comeback for the other team. He did it last year and it hasn’t stopped now.
Unfortunately awards sometimes don’t go to the most deserving but the most name worthy to the media. I’m not totally saying this but Auston Matthews has tore the house down right away in entering the league along with his teammate Mitch Marner. Finland’s sharpest shooter Patric Laine seems like he get a hat track like every other game in Winnipeg. All of these players have eye popping numbers which will of course gain you notable significance, especially Matthews and Laine. For some reason Marner has an underdog story that is growing each day.
Murray’s numbers may not jump out at you but he’s 1 of those guys that you need to watch to fully grasp how great hes been and can continue to be. Matty M brings a sense of reliability, he doesn’t have to do if often because of teammates like Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel, but on any given night can carry the Pens.
There are not many games where Murray gives up more than 2 goals, he can constantly get you that. That is all you need on a team like the Penguins that will drop 4 goals in your face before you can even announce your starting lineup. He pretty much already been anointed as the starter and received an extension, you know you have special talent when that happens to you already. Austin Matthews may get the accolades, but it’s closer than you think, Matt Murray needs to be in this Calder Trophy talks. We may be looking at a future class of greatness.