Goaltender Matt Murray will enter training camp for Team North America next week as the starter for the World Cup of Hockey 2016, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
"I would think going in it's going to be Matt first," Team North America general manager Peter Chiarelli said. "They're going to assess it after practices, during practices, they're going to assess them throughout the three [pretournament] games. But just based on his body of work, what he's done, you can't ignore that. He's the lead dog right now, I would think, based on my discussions [with coaches], and I think it's fairly obvious."
Murray, John Gibson and Connor Hellebuyck are the three goaltenders on the Team North America roster for the eight-team tournament, which will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1.
A late-season injury to Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury thrust Murray, 22, into the starter's role, and he went 15-6 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping Pittsburgh win the championship.
Team North America opens camp at Bell Centre in Montreal on Sept. 5 and plays its first pretournament game against Team Europe at Videotron Centre in Quebec City on Sept. 8 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVA Sports). It also plays pretournament games against Team Europe at Bell Centre on Sept. 11 (6 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports) and against Team Czech Republic at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Sept. 14 (3:30 p.m. ET; ESPN3, SN, TVA Sports).
In his only previous international experience, Murray helped Canada win the bronze medal at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. He went 4-3 with a 2.72 GAA and .909 save percentage in seven games.