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Oilers back off of Matt Murray after Penguins demand a 1st round pick in trade talks

NHL insider Pierre LeBrun with some details of what could have been a blockbuster trade.

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According to a report from NHL insider Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers have engaged in trade discussions regarding goaltender Matt Murray. According to LeBrun though, Oilers general manager Ken Holland balked at the Penguins' asking price which LeBrun feels may have started and ended with a 1st round pick.

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The Oilers and Penguins have talked about Matt Murray, I'm told, but as far as I can tell, asking price too rich for Edmonton at this point (first-round pick?). I think Edmonton will be patient in its goalie search. And the Oil hasn't ruled out bringing back Mike Smith, either

If that's the case, you can't blame Holland for getting cold feet. He has been steadfast in his message to Oilers fans that he'll rebuild this team from the ground up and that begins and ends with drafting and developing young talent. In other words, he's not about to give up a 1st round pick for anything less than a sure bet in return. As appealing as Murray might sound, he's anything but a sure bet. Yes, he's a two time Stanley Cup champion and has gone on some truly miraculous runs for the Penguins. But the fact of the matter is that he had a truly dreadful season in 2019-20 and has been surpassed by Tristan Jarry on the Penguins' depth chart. He put up a 2.87 goals against average and an .899 save percentage. To put that in perspective, Oilers goalie Mike Smith outperformed him with a 2.95 goals against average an .902 save percentage. Not great.

Interestingly enough, LeBrun reports that the Oilers are considering bringing back Smith for another spin in 2020-21. Of course, Mikko Koskinen is still signed for another two seasons so whomever the Oilers bring on board, he'll have to split time with Koskinen in the Oilers' crease. 

With the goalie market expected to be flooded this offseason due to free agents like Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom and Robin Lehner, don't be surprised if the Penguins' asking price on Murray drops drastically as the offseason progresses. If and when that occurs, look for Holland and the Oilers to circle back on Murray trade talks.