It seems to be a common theme nowadays among Penguins fans to think Matt Murray has a below average glove hand.
This statement may have been true during the 2016 playoff run, but after last season as well as this current season, that statement is outdated. That may seem like a bold statement to make, but I will try and shine some light on why I personally think Murray’s glove hand is not as bad as people make it seem. I am going to back this up with some little-known stats.
During the 2016-17 regular season, Murray played 49 games and let up 111 goals, and 38 of those were on his glove side. This means that 34.2% of the goals on Murray were on his glove side. Now let’s compare these numbers to another popular Pittsburgh goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury played 38 games during the regular season, and in those games he was scored on 107 times, and just like Murray he let in 38 goals on his glove side. This equates to 35.5% of the goals scored on Fleury went in on his glove side, a very close % to Murray. However, it was very rare to hear any Pittsburgh fan criticize Fleury of his glove hand which, when you look at it, was statistically just barely worse than Murray’s.
Now that may not provide the clearest picture of my point, as their percentages are just one percent apart. So let’s look at Vezina nominee, Braden Holtby.
Holtby allowed 128 goals this past year, 57 of which were on his glove side. This calculates to 44.5% of the goals that went in on Holtby being scored on his glove side. That is a whole 10% higher than Murray, and yet again, you rarely hear anyone mention Holtby having a weak glove hand.
Some more stats won’t hurt.
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers had 42 goals of his 147 against scored on his glove side. This means 28.5% of the goals he let in were on his glove side. So this number here is one that is lower than Murray’s.
Lastly, we will compare Murray’s stats to Pekka Rinne. Rinne allowed 144 goals against last season. 46 of them were on his glove side. This shows that Rinne let in 32% of his goals in on the glove side, which is about 2% lower than Murray.
In conclusion, based off of the statistics, Murray’s glove hand is not horrible, nor is it out of this world. It is simply on par with most of the NHL’s elite goaltenders. In hindsight, Murray’s average glove hand is not that much of a detriment to his overall game, as most of his other attributes are far better than other goalies.