The Toronto Maple Leafs moved Matt Murray onto the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) on Wednesday, likely ending the 29-year-old’s time on the team.
Given his injury record, inconsistent play, and the late-season emergence of Joseph Woll as an option in net, Murray’s move to the LTIR will surprise few. The goaltender’s expensive contract would have cost Toronto almost $4.7 million against the cap in 2023-2024, a number they will bury with the announcement that he is out indefinitely.
The Leafs brought in the Thunder Bay native from the Ottawa Senators last summer to replace departing All-Star Jack Campbell and try to rediscover the form that made him a two-time Stanley Cup champ in Pittsburgh.
Instead, Murray’s health, which limited him to 47 total games over two seasons with the Sens, again sabotaged him as the big shot-stopper managed just 26 appearances due to various ailments before an April concussion knocked him out for good.
With Murray out, former Washington Capital Ilya Samsonov seized Toronto’s net to great effect, stopping .919 percent of shots he faced while surrendering just 2.33 goals per game and winning 27 of his 40 starts. Murray allowed a comparatively pedestrian 3.01 goals per game with a .903 save percentage.
For Samonov’s efforts, he was awarded a $3.55 million salary for next season in arbitration. Woll, the 25-year-old AHL Marlies standout, will likely serve as his backup after an excellent 7-game audition in the NHL.
Murray’s murky injury ups the Maple Leafs’ LTIR relief to over $10.3 million; defenseman Jake Muzzin, whose $5.625 cap hit will also expire after this season, is out long-term with a spine issue that has jeopardized his career.
Toronto GM Brad Treliving still has work to do to ensure his new team is cap-compliant thanks to Samsonov’s big arbitration win and one-year deals signed with Max Domi, John Klingberg, and Tyler Bertuzzi.