Rutherford: 'Very, very good chance' Penguins trade Murray or Jarry
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford knows keeping both of his top two netminders beyond this offseason is a luxury his team likely can't afford.
"We know that there's a very, very good chance that we're going to have to move one of them," Rutherford told The Athletic's Josh Yohe regarding goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry.
He added: "There is already interest. And it looks like we're going to have to move one of them."
Murray and Jarry are both restricted free agents this offseason, and allotting valuable salary-cap space to both doesn't seem necessary; the team has a capable backup in Casey DeSmith under contract at a modest $1.25 million annually for two more seasons.
The Penguins are projected to have $12.4 million in cap room this offseason, according to CapFriendly. But Pittsburgh also has six pending RFAs in addition to Murray and Jarry - including Jared McCann - who are in need of new contracts. The team also has a trio of pending unrestricted free agents in Conor Sheary, Patrick Marleau, and Justin Schultz.
It also wouldn't make sense for the Penguins to have both Murray and Jarry on the roster by the time the 2021 Seattle expansion draft rolls around; each team is permitted to protect just one goalie in the draft.
"I haven't gotten to the point yet where I'm having serious talks or seeing exactly how much I can get," Rutherford said. "But, I will say, I'm getting close to that point, to understanding just what people are willing to give.
"So, we'll see. I don't know exactly how it's going to go, but I can already see that there is going to be a lot of interest."
Deciding which goalie to trade could prove difficult. Murray, 26, led the Penguins to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles, but he struggled mightily this season. Jarry, 25, is far less proven at the NHL level, but he enjoyed a breakout 2019-20 campaign that resulted in an All-Star nod.
With Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup window closing, it's critical Rutherford both keeps the right goaltender and nets a valuable return for the goalie he moves. No pressure.
- Kane to make Red Wings debut Thursday vs. Sharks
- Promising Stars prospect Logan Stankoven may be small, but all he does is score
- Vezina Trophy Rankings: Hill showing Cup run was no fluke
- NHL hot topics: Debating Leafs' D targets, coaches on hot seat, more
- Leafs' Klingberg to undergo season-ending hip surgery