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Matt Murray News May Make Maple Leafs Goalie Issue Tricky

Matt Murray is recovering, potentially ahead of schedule and the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t ruling out a possible return. What does that mean?

It’s not an issue now, but it could be down the line. Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray is recovering well according to GM Brad Treliving and a potential return this season, and ahead of the NHL playoffs, isn’t being rule out. That’s surprising news as he recovers from hip surgery, and it potentially creates eventual salary cap and roster issues for the team.

Treliving provided an optimistic update, mentioning that Murray has been progressing well in his rehabilitation without setbacks. Murray, who had hip surgery in October, is currently at a stage where he participated in a public skate, indicating positive developments in his recovery.

While the original estimate for Murray’s recovery was six to eight months, Treliving emphasized a cautious approach, stating, “We just want to make sure he goes about it, and when he’s ready, he’s ready.” The Maple Leafs are prioritizing Murray’s well-being over rushing him back into action.

But, what if he’s ready to go before the regular season ends?

Would the Maple Leafs Have Room to Fit Him Back on the Roster?

If Murray’s recovery stays on track, there is a possibility of him returning during the regular season, which extends until April. His $4.687 million salary cap would come off of LTIR and back onto the active roster, should he be medically cleared or the Leafs want to use him. However, Treliving highlighted the team’s cautious stance, suggesting that the goaltender’s return may not be imminent.

The NHL looks at contracts on LTIR and medical examinations are done to assess whether a player should be on LTIR, but everyone knows those tests are fairly relaxed. The reality is, most NHL players play through injuries. At almost any time, a player could have enough issues to warrant being on LTIR. If the Leafs wanted to hold Murray off, they probably could.

Matt Murray Suspected of Protecting Base Salary With LTIR Move

But, there’s also the issue of what happens if Ilya Samsonov gets his head right, or the Leafs find a possible trade that works for them. Where does Murray fit into the equation then?

Could Matt Murray Be Plan C or Plan D for the Leafs?

Murray, in the final year of his four-year, $25 million deal, could bring valuable playoff experience to the team if he returns during the postseason. While salary cap considerations may limit his activation during the regular season, the playoffs could present an opportunity for his return.

This development raises intriguing questions about Murray’s potential impact on the goaltending situation, given the performances other netminders this season. The Leafs want Joseph Woll to be their guy. They’d also like Samsonov to get his head right. They’d prefer not to keep Dennis Hildeby on the main roster, but integrating Murray back into the lineup without disrupting the team dynamic could be an interesting storyline… if it ever comes to that.

Next: Oliver Kylington Joins AHL Wranglers Ahead of Flames Return

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Stan Smith

    January 4, 2024 at 1:40 pm

    the way I look at it is the Leafs have already said he is out for the season. From what I understand his recovery period takes him to April, which is playoffs. As you stated Murray’s cap is a consideration for the regular season but is not a factor in the postseason and he could play. But, if the Leafs were to have to dig down that far in the playoffs they would have to be in very dire straits. IMO Murray’s status is the same as it was when they announced he was done for the season.

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