The Penguins added goaltending depth within the organization at the 2012 NHL Draft, taking Matt Murray in the third round and college-bound Sean Maguire
in the fourth round.
They were able to receive some one-on-one attention with Penguins goalie development coach Mike Bales at last week’s development camp, leaving him impressed with their play.
“I think all the guys have been real receptive to learning and playing hard in all the practices,” Bales said. “Obviously, it’s not December and they aren’t in midseason form. They’ve got a lot of little things they need to work on. But overall I think all of them have looked really good.”
After an impressive rookie season where he found himself third in wins (8) and fourth in save percentage (.877) among Ontario Hockey League rookie goaltenders in 2010-11, Matt Murray was primed to be the man in net for Sault Ste. Marie.
Murray began the season on a tear, winning nine of his first 14 starts. During the campaign, he split time between the pipes with 2010 first-round pick Jack Campbell (Dallas Stars).
“I’m definitely one of the goalies that likes to see a lot of shots,” the 6-foot-4, 166-pound Murray said. “I feel like I play better when I’m busier and when I’m playing more frequently. If I get into a groove, if I’m playing a lot, playing every game and seeing a lot of shots then I’m at my best.”
For Murray, playing with the highly regarded Campbell did have its advantages. Murray learned from one of the best, if not the best, goalies in juniors. The tall netminder said he learned a lot from Campbell, things he can take into next season.
“He’s a first rounder and the winningest goalie in USA Hockey history. You can’t do anything, but learn from the guy,” the Thunder Bay, Ontario native said. “All of his experiences he’s had through hockey, his work ethic off the ice and on the ice. It was really good for me to learn from him and I think that really benefitted me.”
With Campbell now off to Dallas to play for the Stars organization, Murray will be handed the keys as the last line of defense for the Hounds, with a little added experience this time around.
“I was playing almost every game at the start of the year. I was playing some of my best hockey, too,” Murray said. “The stint last year definitely helped me prepare for this year and I think it’s going to benefit me in the long run.”
Sean Maguire came into this summer’s draft as a highly decorated goaltender from the British Columbia Hockey League, finishing the year third among BCHL netminders in goals-against average (2.33) and fourth in wins (17) while leading Powell River to the league championship.
“I had a really good start to the season in Powell River,” Maguire said. “We had a pretty lopsided record with wins and losses. Went to the finals in the playoffs against a really strong team and ended up winning the whole thing. I’m really proud of my season and the boys that played with me.”
Maguire and his goaltending counterpart, Jonah Imoo, helped the Powell River Kings win the Wally Forslund Trophy (BCHL goalie tandem with lowest combined GAA) for the second consecutive year. While the recognition is nice, Maguire was quick to share the accolades.
“It’s great, it’s a big accomplishment,” Maguire said. “It’s a team effort really for the lowest goals-against average. Our defense was impenetrable both years. We had a little bit to do with it. It was a great honor.”
Maguire also was the goalie for Team Canada West and helped the team capture gold at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge. Next season, Maguire will be leaving Canada to play college hockey for Boston University as he continues his path to the NHL.
“I’m really excited to get the year started. I was there doing some summer school and skating with all the guys,” Maguire said. “It’s a great facility, great program. It’s really top notch.”