If there was anyone out there that still had any doubts about whether or not the Pittsburgh Penguins and their general manager Jim Rutherford were looking to trade two time Stanley Cup Champion Matt Murray, this latest bit of news should dispel those doubts.
For several days now we have been hearing rumblings of a link between Matt Murray, the Penguins, and the Chicago Blackhawks with the Blackhawks reportedly being interested in acquiring Murray. Up until this point those had only been rumors, however on Monday NHL insider Elliotte Friedman was able to report that the trade talks between the Penguins and the Blackhawks had fallen apart.
It sounds like the discussions here got into the latter stages as well. Friedman reports that the Blackhawks had actually obtained permission from the Penguins in order to discuss a contract extension with Murray, something that makes perfect sense given that Murray will be a restricted free agent in just a few short days. Presumably if Murray was allowed to discuss an extension there must have been a theoretical deal in place between the Penguins and the Blackhawks, but for whatever reason this deal did not get done and appears to be dead in the water for the time being.
Friedman reports that both sides continue to examine their options so I suppose there is a possibility that they could circle back on this trade, but the insider gave no indication that this would be at all likely. If I had to speculate on a possible reason as to why this deal fell apart, the first thing that comes to mind are the potential contract demands from Murray. The veteran netminder already has a pair of Stanley Cup Championships to his name, and although there is no doubt about his status as a veteran in the NHL he is just 26 years of age. There are not very many goalies who can make those kinds of claims, and perhaps Murray believes there will be offer sheets coming his way when free agency officially opens up on October 9th.
On the other side of this coin, Murray is coming off of what was unquestionably his worst NHL season and it won't surprise me one bit if the offers he receives are significantly less than what he or his agent have prepared for.