Tha Sports Junkies 101

Matt Murray, a top three NHL goalie


To say Matt Murray has been successful in his first two NHL seasons would be an extreme understatement. This is the goalie that has won a cup in his first two full seasons. The success and great stats is what makes him a top three NHL goalie.

Murray has put up great numbers to start his career and quickly became the Pittsburgh Penguins starting goalie for years to come.

The great start to his career did not go unnoticed by coaches and general managers around the NHL. His successes would land him the starting job for Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Despite all this early success, people have been slow to give Murray the credit he deserves. Like it or not, Murray is a top three NHL goalie.

The beginnings

Murray grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, playing junior hockey for the Thunder Bay Kings AAA team.

His final year with the Kings, Murray had a very impressive 1.71 goals against average. This would be good enough to get himself selected in the 2nd round (35th overall) by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL priority selection.

Although Murray didn’t play outstanding in his first two years in the OHL, it was still enough to impress the Pittsburgh Penguins scouts, who took him in the 3rd round (83rd overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft.

Murray played well the year after being drafted by the Penguins, putting up a .894 SVP and a 3.67 GAA in 53 games. Despite the strong showing, he still was not expected to be an NHL superstar.

It would the following season, the 2013-14 hockey season, where Murray started showing signs he could one day become a top 3 NHL goalie. In 49 OHL games he would put up an impressive .921 SVP and 2.57 GAA, very good numbers for OHL goaltenders.

Here is Murray’s elite prospects page, with all his stats and other things on it. 

The American Hockey League

Murray would move on to play with the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, following his OHL stint.

Although expectations were high for Murray, he would not get to be a AHL starter right away. Veteran Jeff Zatkoff, who had played with Pittsburgh the season before as a backup, would also be in Wilkes-Barre.

Murray quickly showed who the better goaltender at Wilkes-Barre was.

Throughout 40 games Murray had a .941 SVP and a 1.58 GAA.

These ridiculously good numbers would earn him a spot on the AHL’s all rookie team, the AHL best goalie award, a spot on the AHL’s first all star team and the AHL rookie of the year.

Penguins fans really started thinking Murray could be the future rather than Fleury in this season.

Murray would spend most of the season in AHL. He had NHL talent, but the Penguins wanted him to get starts.

He would play 31 AHL games in the 2015-16 season, putting up a .931 SVP and 2.10 GAA.

Following those 31 games he would get called up to the NHL, where he would begin making history.

Matt Murray, making history

It was just weeks before the 2016 playoffs and Penguins starting goalie Marc Andre Fleury had went down with a concussion. Then backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff wasn’t performing well and the Penguins dreams of a deep playoff run seemed impossible.

But, just like something out of a movie, Matt Murray was there to save the day.

Murray had played in just 13 games before the playoffs started, and although he played well, it seemed far fetched to think he could bring them to Lord Stanley.

After missing the first two playoff games with his own injury, Murray stepped between the pipes for his first taste at NHL playoff hockey. He did not miss a beat.

First was the New York Rangers, who the Penguins beat in five games.

After that was the Presidents’ Cup-winning Washington Capitals. A tall task to say the least, but, backed by Murray, the Penguins did it, beating them in six games.

This brought Pittsburgh to the Eastern Conference Final, where they would be facing the Tampa Bay Lightning. With Fleury watching from the bench, Murray carried the Penguins past the Lightning in a seven-game thriller.

There was only one team standing between Murray’s Penguins and glory. The San Jose Sharks.

After six more games the Penguins accomplished what seemed impossible: winning the Stanley Cup with an inexperienced goalie.

Throughout the playoffs Murray posted a .923 SVP and a 2.08 GAA in 21 games

Although many didn’t want to admit it, these numbers showed us Murray could be a top three NHL goalie, as long as he stayed this good next season.


It seems crazy to question someone’s sustainability when they’ve been achieving greatness from the start of their career. But still, that’s what people question when claiming Murray isn’t as good as some say.

Murray had a .923 SVP and 2.41 GAA in 49 games with Pittsburgh last season despite the “unsustainable” label. Murray helped Pittsburgh finish second in the Metro division.

Pittsburgh would enter the NHL playoffs as the defending champs, looking to defend their title. Something rarely done in NHL history.  Especially when the teams starting goalie has only played in two NHL seasons.

Although Murray’s went down with an injury in warm-ups of the first playoff game, it did not slow him down when he got back.

In 11 playoff games Murray had a .937 SVP and a 1.70 GAA, numbers even better numbers than his regular season numbers and last years playoff run.

The great numbers would be awarded once again as Murray backstopped the Penguins to their second straight Stanley cup victory.

Top three NHL goalie

If you’re a person who doesn’t like giving individuals too much credit for team successes, then just look at Murray’s stats during the last two seasons.

Assuming you’re a person who doesn’t like stats and thinks success means more, then Murray and his two rings are perfect for you.

If you think Murray is just benefiting from playing on a good team then take a look at his OHL and AHL statistics.

There are no excuses to why Murray is not a top three NHL goalie. His numbers are better than almost all other NHL netminders. His success is second-to-none. He has been a solid goaltender at all levels.

Matt Murray is a top three NHL goalie.