Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry are RFA's at the end of the year and will both be due a raise.
People that I have talked with believe that Murray could command six million dollars, while Jarry could be in the three million dollar range. Nine million bucks for two goaltenders is too much under any circumstance, in my opinion. How about it the midst of a pandemic?
Emily Kaplan of ESPN joined my show yesterday to discuss some of the financial ramifications that the NHL could be facing due to the league's pause. One of those consequences will be that the salary cap could fall. If not next year, then the year after.
According to Kaplan, the league would try to artificially hold the cap in place for the 2020/2021 season. How realistic is it that the cap will be able to remain static after that point? Probably not very.
If that's the case, then Matt Murray isn't going to be a Penguin in the long run. How about in the near future?
My read is that GMJR would keep both Murray and Jarry next year if the salary cap would remain around 80 million dollars. That’s what happened with Marc-Andre Fleury and Murray in 2017. Fleury went out a cup champ, but he could have been moved at the deadline.
Going back to his time in Carolina, Jim Rutherford believes in having two capable goaltenders. It's served him well here in Pittsburgh.
Kaplan reported, before the pandemic anyway, that the cap was expected to go up about three percent next year. Well, that's not going to happen anymore.
What if the league isn't able to artificially float the cap next year?
The Pens will have to shed salary. Matt Murray is a good goaltender, but he's often hurt and he's inconsistent. Tristan Jarry was an all-star this year. In a perfect world, I'd love to keep the two-time cup winner AND the all-star. This isn't a perfect world.
Given that the financial future of the league is up in the air, and that there's no guarantee another game gets played this season, I think it's possible that Matt Murray has already played his last game as a Pittsburgh Penguin.