Murray exercises no-trade clause to avoid trade to Buffalo

Thunder Bay goaltender is still the speculation of furious trade rumors as the NHL draft enters its second day.

OTTAWA – Matt Murray’s time in Ottawa may be short-lived, but the Thunder Bay goaltender has apparently ensured it would last at least one day longer.

According to multiple media sources, Murray, who has two years and $12.5 million left on his contract with the Ottawa Senators, invoked his partial no-trade clause on Thursday to veto a trade to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Senators reached a deal with Buffalo to send Murray and the seventh overall pick to the Sabers in return for the 16th overall pick, Ottawa clearly wanting to dump the often-injured goaltender’s salary.

Instead, Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion used the pick to pry 40-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat away from the Chicago Blackhawks, prior to the start of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Ottawa also sent two other picks to Chicago to complete the trade, including the 39th overall choice this year and a third-round pick in 2024.

Murray, who was 5-12-2 with a 3.05 goals against average and a .906 save percentage in his second season in Ottawa, is still a hot trade topic, with several teams apparently interested in the 28-year-old netminder.

Toronto dealt goaltender Peter Mrazek to the Blackhawks on Thursday night, fueling speculation Murray could be headed to the Maple Leafs, while Edmonton also cleared cap space by sending forward Zack Kassian to Arizona.

Jack Campbell, the Leafs No. 1 goaltender last season, is an unrestricted free agent and hockey insiders have speculated he won’t return to Toronto. In Edmonton, it’s believed the Oilers brass are looking for an upgrade on 40-year-old Mike Smith, who nevertheless did help lead Edmonton to the Western Conference final.

Campbell’s decision could impact another Thunder Bay goaltender, New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood. The 30-year-old Campbell, who spent the past four seasons in Toronto, has been linked to the Devils on the NHL rumor mill, with free agency set to open next week. It’s also been said the Oilers may have an interest in the Michigan native.

At least one other Thunder Bay player will be on the free-agent market. Thirty-five-year-old defenseman Marc Staal, who joined the 1,000 game club in 2021-22, has spent the last two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Staal had 16 points in 71 games last season and has 214 points in 1,019 career games, mostly with the New York Rangers. He earned $2 million last season.

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