Before the Stanley Cup Final, goaltender Matt Murray talked about how impressed he was with Pittsburgh. He was so impressed with the fan support, marveling about how the whole city was behind them during their run.
Now, after backstopping the Pens to the championship, Murray has signed a three-year contract extension that will begin with the 2017-18 season and run through the 2019-20 campaign and has an average annual value of $3.75 million.
"Pittsburgh is a great place to play," said the 22-year-old netminder. "You hear that a lot with guys. (Sidney Crosby) was talking about how guys on Team Canada (during the World Cup) were kind of jealous of our facilities and our city. It's a great place to play and anybody in their right mind would want to be here. For that vote of confidence, it's awesome and I'm really thrilled."
Contract talks began during training camp, and while neither side was in any rush to get it done, both are certainly glad to have reached a deal.
"It's not something we felt we had to have done within a week," Pens general manager Jim Rutherford said. "We knew we would have to go through the process. I think it's good for Matt and good for the Penguins to get it done. It's not something now that's on his mind, being in a contract year. We're very happy to have him in the fold for three years."
Rutherford is also very happy to have Murray signed to a bridge contract, considering how young he is. Murray still qualifies as an NHL rookie for this season as he did not play more than 25 games in the 2015-16 regular season.
"We have a young goalie that has had a very good career," Rutherford said. "He won a Stanley Cup, played extremely well and we feel he has a bright future ahead and a long future ahead of him. Getting him on a bridge contract at that number does help us going forward with our cap."
That was Murray's focus during these talks - reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.
"You want to get a fair deal, not just for you, but for both sides, the team as well," he said. "I think the way it worked out, it worked well for both sides. It's good that it didn't drag out too long. We kept it pretty quiet for the most part and I think both sides are happy."