The Pittsburgh Penguins believe that they are still within their championship window with stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their roster, but in order to improve on the results they have produced in the playoffs in recent years there will need to be significant changes made to that roster.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has always been refreshingly honest with members of the media when it comes to discussing his plans for the future of his roster and this week will prove to be no exception. Rutherford all but confirmed this week that there are significant changes coming to the Penguins roster and even went so far as to reveal that other teams in the league have already shown interest. Shown interest in what exactly? That is of course in reference to goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry and that should come as no surprise given that there is a widely held belief that at least one of the two goaltenders will be playing for a different team by the time next season rolls around.
“There is already interest,” admitted Rutherford as per Penguins insider Josh Yohe. “And it looks like we’re going to have to move one of them.”
It should come as no surprise that Rutherford has been receiving interest from rival general managers given just how many teams around the league could use an upgrade between the pipes. One need look no further than some of the teams that, like the Penguins, have been eliminated from playoff contention to find a number teams that could potentially benefit from acquiring either Murray or Jarry. The Edmonton Oilers were the victims of a horrible performance from Mike Smith in his single playoff appearance and the other team in Alberta, the Calgary Flames, have been looking for more reliable goaltending for several seasons now. The Carolina Hurricanes have Petr Mrazek but despite a strong showing in the playoffs this time around he has been streaky throughout his career and his stats from the regular season reflects that reality.
Rutherford says that the level of interest he has seen thus far have already allowed him to start shaping an idea of what kind of return he can expect if he trades either Murray or Jarry,
“I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I’m having serious talks or seeing exactly how much I can get,” added Rutherford. “But, I will say, I’m getting close to that point, to understanding just what people are willing to give. So, we’ll see. I don’t know exactly how it’s going to go, but I can already see that there is going to be a lot of interest.”
I know there were some fans in Pittsburgh that were holding out hope that Rutherford would somehow find a way to bring back both Murray and Jarry for the 2020 - 2021 National Hockey League season but it now seems like a foregone conclusion that this will not be the case. There's little doubt in my mind that after this season the Penguins would prefer to keep Tristan Jarry over Matt Murray, but the kind of return Rutherford is offered for either man may determine which choice he makes in the end.