Most Maple Leafs fans have been generally supportive of the moves Kyle Dubas has made in his four-year tenure as Toronto’s general manager.
Possibly until now.
With the return of all-star Jack Campbell looking increasingly unlikely due to cap space restraints, the Leafs dumped struggling backup Petr Mrazek to the Blackhawks earlier this month and traded for another struggling goalie in Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators Monday evening.
Murray is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017, but after signing with the Senators in 2020, he’s been nothing but a disappointment. Plagued by injury woes, Murray put up a weak stat line of 5-12-2, a 3.05 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage last season, prompting Ottawa to put him on waivers.
While his career stats don’t necessary look as bad as his recent seasons — 132-78-22 record with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage — the move nevertheless raised eyebrows among NHL analysts and fans.
The trade is even more confusing given that the Senators only retained 25 per cent of Murray’s salary, leaving the cap-crunched Leafs to pay the 28-year-old goaltender $4.6875-million (US) next season. Even the extra picks from the Senators in the move won’t be enough to calm some of the panic being demonstrated by Leafs fans.
Here’s how analysts and fans are reacting to the move:
The Athletic columnist Sean McIndoe — Down Goes Brown on Twitter — kept his reaction short and sweet when the trade was officially announced: “This is terrible.”
Justin Bourne, an NHL analyst for Sportsnet, shared similar sentiments as McIndoe, who said that he “just cannot believe” that the Leafs plan to pay that kind of money for a goaltender who was below average the past few seasons.
Some fans are calling it a make-or-break trade for Dubas, saying if it doesn’t pan out his job will be in jeopardy:
It’s well documented that Dubas likes to reconnect with those who played for the Soo Greyhounds, the team he came up as a young executive with in the OHL. And of course, Murray played for the Greyhounds…
However, it’s not all doom-and-gloom, with some Leafs fans withholding judgment until they see Murray perform this season, especially with better defensive lines in front of him:
But there are some happy who are (mostly) happy with the move. Senators (and other NHL) fans weighed in:
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