Instant Analysis: Ottawa Senators Trade Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs

Pierre Dorion finds a taker for Murray

After a weekend of increasingly furious updates from various NHL insiders, the Ottawa Senators have finally completed their trade of Matt Murray to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The full details of the trade are as follows:

From a Sens’ perspective, they’ve been trying to unload Murray for quite some time and the fact that they were willing to include three sweeteners (salaray retention and two draft picks) in order to move him speaks to just how badly they wanted to conclude the Murray era in the nation’s capital. The four year, $25M extension that Ottawa gave Murray immediately after acquiring him from the Pittsburgh Penguins looked like a hugely risky bet at the time, and between the injuries and his poor play it’s done nothing but get worse. Add in the reported rift between the goalie and the organization, and it simply wasn’t tenable for Murray to begin next season in Ottawa. Given his lack of leverage, Dorion has made out pretty well here. The salary cap situation looks much cleaner than it did at the start of the day, and no one is going to lose too much sleep over a 3rd and 7th round pick. It’s not nothing, but it’s a price that I think most Sens fans would pay ten times out of ten.

From the Leafs’ perspective, I cannot say I understand the plan here. They are, allegedly, trying to win a Stanley Cup while their star players are young and under contract. By trading for Murray at only 25% retention, the Leafs seem to be hitching their wagon to a goalie who has only played 85 games over the last three seasons with a sub .900 SV% to show for it. They must believe they can fix whatever has been ailing him, and that his performance issues are health-related, but that seems like a pretty bad bet to me. The compensation they received for making this bet, while not nothing, is not nearly enough in my mind.

At the end of the day, this whole mess could have been avoided if Dorion hadn’t given Murray that ridiculous extension 18 months ago but what’s done is done: the Sens needed a minimally painful way out and this trade is just that. Even better, with the team seemingly committed to making still more upgrades to the roster, the dollars saved over the next two seasons could prove critical — especially if they were used to say, sign Claude Giroux? Regardless, you can check another item off Dorion’s to-do list for the summer. It’s been a good one so far.

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