Leafs expected to make announcement regarding Matt Murray's future

Ryan Smitheram
April 10, 2024  (9:01)

Matt Murray update expected this week
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Per an official report from TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston, the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to share an official update on Matt Murray's future this week.

Former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas revamped the Leafs' goaltending situation ahead of the 2022-2023 season when he first traded for Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray. A couple of days later, Dubas signed former Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year deal, completely overhauling his previous tandem of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek.
When the Leafs acquired Murray and signed Samsonov, they were hoping that it would provide some stability to the position for years to come after Campbell signed with the Edmonton Oilers. Unfortunately for Murray and the Leafs, he was limited to just 26 games in his first season as a Leaf due to a number of different injuries. In those 26 games, he posted a 14-8-2 record with a .904 save percentage and 3.01 GAA. Originally it was thought that Murray was unable to return to the lineup during the playoffs, which eventually led to Joseph Woll making his playoff debut against the Florida Panthers in relief of an injured Ilya Samsonov.

Was Murray actually healthy enough to play in the playoffs last season?

At the time, Sheldon Keefe and the Leafs turned to Woll for Game 3 and Game 4 against the Florida Panthers in the second round of the playoffs. There had been speculation that Murray was healthy enough to play when he joined the Leafs for practice before the second round began. He was designated as the emergency backup for the Leafs to begin the series and reportedly was healthy enough to play if needed, but was passed over in favour of Woll.
When the Leafs were eliminated by the Panthers, the speculation began that the Leafs would have to find a way to get out of the final season of Murray's deal, given how well Woll and Samsonov had played. In late July this past off-season, after numerous reports about his health, the Leafs placed Murray on long-term injured reserve, but did not give a specific reason or explanation of what the injury was.
Just prior to the start of this season, the Leafs announced that Murray would undergo bi-lateral hip surgery and would be out for six to eight months, providing much-needed clarity on his injury. It also led to many questions surrounding his health during the series against Florida when he indirectly implied he was healthy enough to play if called upon.

What is the latest on Murray's recovery?

Yesterday on TSN's 'Insider Trading' segment, Chris Johnston revealed that the Leafs are expected to provide a positive update on Murray's recovery over the next couple of days.
"There is expectation this week that Matt Murray's situation is to be updated. we do know he was due to see another specialist after the hip surgery he had back in the fall in this timeframe. The next stage will be getting cleared to join the Leafs full-time at practice. He's been on the ice, we've seen him at times over the last little bit, but to really ramp it up and be a regular member at practice [would be the next big step]. Beyond that who knows what happens? We'll see where things end up. He could be going on a conditioning loan. The good news, big picture, is that Matt Murray is taking the steps back towards health."

Murray certainly won't be activated from LTIR before the end of the season, as the Leafs need the cap space, but if he does complete a conditioning stint with the Toronto Marlies and all goes well, he could be a late addition to the Leafs' playoff roster. He surely won't get into any games if Samsonov and Woll remain healthy, and with Martin Jones healthy and ready to play as well, but at the very least, the Leafs will have a two-time Stanley Cup champion around to calm the nerves of Samsonov and Woll when needed.
With Murray set to become a UFA at the end of the season, the conditioning stint, should he go on one, will prove to potential suitors, including the Leafs that he is healthy enough to resume his career.
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Leafs expected to make announcement regarding Matt Murray's future

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