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Murray assigned to AHL by Senators

Goalie is in second season of four-year, $25 million contract @NHLdotcom

Matt Murray was assigned to Belleville of the American Hockey League by the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

The 27-year-old goalie, who was placed on waivers Saturday, is in the second season of a four-year, $25 million contract ($6.25 million average annual value) he signed with the Senators on Oct. 9, 2020, two days after he was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Murray is 0-5-0 with a 3.26 goals-against average and .890 save percentage in six games this season after going 10-13-1 with a 3.38 GAA and .893 save percentage in 27 games (25 starts) last season.

"We certainly got to play better in front of him as well so we got to take some blame there, but this is about getting his game back," Senators coach D.J. Smith said Saturday.

The Senators (4-14-1) have the fewest points in the NHL (nine) and have allowed the most goals per game (3.84). They rank 27th in goals scored per game (2.42).

Murray has been limited to six games because of COVID-19 and injuries. Ottawa has used two other goalies this season: Filip Gustavsson is 3-5-1 with a 3.37 GAA and .907 save percentage in nine games (eight starts); Anton Forsberg is 1-4-0 with a 4.44 GAA and .883 save percentage in six games (five starts).

A third-round pick (No. 83) in the 2012 NHL Draft, Murray helped the Penguins win the Stanley Cup in each of his first two seasons (2016, 2017).

As a result, Pittsburgh left goalie Marc-Andre Fleury exposed in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, when he was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights.

After two seasons as the Penguins starter, Murray split time with Tristan Jarry in 2019-20, going 20-11-5 with a 2.87 GAA and .899 save percentage in 38 games. Jarry was 20-12-1 with a 2.43 GAA and .921 save percentage in 33 games (31 starts) and played in the All-Star Game.

Jarry then signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract (average annual value of $3.5 million) with the Penguins on Oct. 3, four days before Murray was traded to the Senators.

Murray is 127-71-20 with a 2.76 GAA, .911 save percentage and 13 shutouts in 232 regular-season games (224 starts) with Pittsburgh and Ottawa. He is 29-21 with a 2.18 GAA, .921 save percentage and six shutouts in 51 Stanley Cup Playoff games (50 starts).

"But by no means is this on Matt Murray," Smith said. "We want him to be the best goalie possible and give him the best chance. I think a lot of this revolves around -- he's had a lot of injuries and nothing you can do about it -- COVID, a lot of things, he's missed a lot of time and hasn't been able to get into a rhythm."

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