The Detroit Red Wings are expected to move on from long-tenured goaltender Jimmy Howard, the team’s on and off again starter who has been part of the organization since being drafted in 2003.
And while they’ll still have a solid option in net in Jonathan Bernier, GM Steve Yzerman could look to shore up Detroit’s crease with an established presence while they await the development of youngsters Filip Larsson and Kaden Fulcher.
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently have two-time Stanley Cup winner Matt Murray as their de facto starter, but at the same time have been impressed with the emergence of Tristan Jarry, who held a record of 20-12-1 with a 2.43 GAA and a .921 save percentage before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down gameplay. And coincidently, both are set to become restricted free-agents whenever the offseason officially begins.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford (a former Red Wings goaltender in his own right), is going to have a tough decision ahead of him. He’s on record as saying that while his preference would be to keep both goalies on the roster, the salary cap may make doing so a luxury they simply can’t afford.
“We know that much,” Rutherford said. “It’s certainly not going up. And that is going to give us some very, very difficult decisions.”
“It’s an obvious answer if you’re asking me if I want to keep them together,” Rutherford said. “We will be a better hockey team if we have both of those guys on our roster next year…Will we be able to keep them together because of the cap? It’s going to be tough. It gets a lot tighter when you know the number isn’t going up.”
Could Murray be a viable option for the Red Wings and GM Steve Yzerman to consider should Pittsburgh opt to go with the younger Jarry in net moving forward? He counted $3.75 million against Pittsburgh’s salary cap the past handful of seasons, and that number isn’t expected to gain a significant increase.
While he wouldn’t be regarded as a long-term solution in net, Murray certainly would provide a viable stopgap in Detroit’s crease, as well as forming a respectable tandem with Bernier.
– – Quotes via Josh Yohe of The Athletic Link – –