Maple Leafs announce jaw-dropping update on injured goalie Matt Murray

Ryan Smitheram
April 13, 2024  (10:35)

Matt Murray at Leafs practice
Photo credit: Sportsnet

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced this morning that they have loaned Matt Murray to the Toronto Marlies on a conditioning stint.

It was reported earlier this week that the Leafs would be making an announcement regarding the immediate future of goaltender Matt Murray. 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.
A few months later, days before the start of the regular season, the Leafs announced that Murray would be undergoing bi-lateral hip surgery and would be out for six to eight months.

What does the conditioning assignment mean for Murray's return?

The past couple of weeks, Murray has been seen skating prior to practice with goaltending coach Curtis Sanford, increasing his workload in those sessions as time progressed. Yesterday, Murray joined the Leafs for his first full practice since surgery.
With Murray being sent down to the Marlies on a conditioning stint, it means the Leafs won't have to activate him until after the regular season when his $4.68M cap hit doesn't count against the salary cap. The stint with the Marlies also means that Murray could, although highly unlikely, make a return to the Leafs' crease at some point during the playoffs. Of course, that would only happen if things went sideways with Ilya Samsonov, Joseph Woll and Martin Jones.
The other scenario is that once his conditioning stint is over, Murray remains with the Marlies and provides a veteran presence for Dennis Hildeby and Keith Petruzzelli during the Marlies' playoff run.
Murray is slated to become a free agent at the end of the season and is keen on resuming his NHL career. However, for him to do so, he may have to take a one-year league-minimum "prove it" deal. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion is just 29 years-old and still has the opportunity to have a career as a serviceable backup at the very least. However, if the injury issues are finally behind him and if he can remain healthy and get back to moving like he did while he was a member of the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, then perhaps his time as a starter has not quite run out just yet.
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Maple Leafs announce jaw-dropping update on injured goalie Matt Murray

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