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Exactly One Year Ago, Maple Leafs’ Matt Murray Cleared Waivers

When the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Matt Murray, many fans were outraged. When does Murray stand right now with his new team?

After the Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in last season’s first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, fans were disappointed yet again. When the off-season came, and the Maple Leafs’ organization began to rebuild the team after several players left, the mood of the fans was downright negative. 

Related: Maple Leafs Game Notes: Kallgren, Matthews, Marner & Bunting

Both New Maple Leafs’ Goalies Generated a Ton of Criticism

Two new players to the Maple Leafs’ roster generated a lot of criticism. Those were the two new goalies that the Maple Leafs brought in to carry the team toward this season’s Stanley Cup run. Neither goalie met the fans’ standards. 

Perhaps that was because fan-favorite Jack Campbell had gone on his way to the Edmonton Oilers. Perhaps it was also because the main goalie brought in Matt Murray. Although Murray had won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins, that seemed like a long time ago. 

In the interim, before he was traded to the Maple Leafs, with the Ottawa Senators Murray had been unsuccessful. Maybe unsuccessful is even too tame a word. Murray had floundered. 

One year ago to this very day, Murray – who had been placed on waivers by the Ottawa Senators – cleared waivers. Not a single team wanted him. He went to the Belleville Senators and played two games.

If you are reading this post on Monday November 28, you’re doing so 365 days – a calendar year – after Murray’s nadir (which is translated as “the absolute lowest point in his career).” 

Tracking Murray’s Season with the Maple Leafs

What a difference a season makes. This season, Murray had an iffy game against the Montreal Canadiens in the season’s opener. His team didn’t help him much by playing poor hockey in front of him, but the Canadiens beat the Maple Leafs on their home ice.

It didn’t help fans’ moods that Murray didn’t get into another game for a long time. During practice, Murray suffered an adductor injury just skating around and was placed on LTIR (long-term injured reserve). That was on October 15. 

Matt Murray Maple Leafs’ injury news

At that time, there certainly was a lot of “I-told-you-so” going around Maple Leafs’ fans. I admit, I too was disappointed. I had hoped Murray would come in and set the world on fire as the Maple Leafs’ new goalie. Yet, there he was again, injured.

Who Knew Now Which Matt Murray Would Show Up?

Who knew what the team was going to get when we went back into the net? Exactly a month later, on November 15, Maple Leafs’ fans found out when Murray finally saw game action against the Penguins. 

Murray made 35 saves in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Penguins. It was his first as a Maple Leafs’ player. In his next game, Murray made 30 saves, but his team lost to the New Jersey Devils by a score of 3-2 in overtime. However, Murray was the reason the only reason the Maple Leafs managed a point in that game. He made some great saves to steal a point.

In his third game after returning from an injury, Murray stopped 32 of 34 shots in a win over Buffalo. In his next game, Murray made 34 saves in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the Devils. Again, Murray made some huge stops. Since he’s returned from his adductor injury he’s gone 3-0-1. Finally, in his last start, Murray made 25 saves in Friday’s 4-3 win over Minnesota.


Fast Forward to Today: Murray’s Been a Fort in Goal

Since his first game back against his former Penguins’ teammates, Murray’s been a fort between the pipes. He won one game, and then another. He keeps winning. He’s looked solid and confident in the net. After these last few games, the mood has changed about what Murray might mean to this team and its Stanley Cup hopes.

Currently, it would seem that he’s played enough games so that the criticism of him being on the team has died down. Now there’s a pause to see if he’s re-injured. Obviously, Murray might be injured again. That can happen in hockey. However, right now he seems to be everything the team hoped for when they traded for him.

Maple Leafs’ fans have toned down their criticism. Now, if Murray can stay healthy, he’s a keeper. As he’s shown in these past games, when he’s free from an injury he can be an excellent goalie.

Where We Are Right Now with Murray

That’s where the Maple Leafs stand right now in the Matt Murray saga. One year to the date, after being put on waivers and unclaimed, Murray will start against the Detroit Red Wings. He’s the starting goalie on one of the better teams in the NHL. 

He’s earned both the right to be the starting goalie and the respect of hockey fans. Every time he enters the net, there’s great confidence among his teammates that he’s going to give a standout performance. 

What more can the team ask? What more can fans want?

Murray’s been a great addition to the Maple Leafs’ roster. Who would have imagined that would be the case exactly a year ago today?

Related: Maple Leafs Quick Hits: Simmonds, Murray & Giordano


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