Murray says he feels like a scapegoat for Senators' struggles
Matt Murray knows he hasn't been good enough for the Ottawa Senators to start the season, but he says he's somewhat in the dark about why the franchise placed him on waivers over the weekend.
"They said it was a management decision. That's about all I got," Murray said Tuesday during his first media availability since joining the Belleville Senators, Ottawa's AHL affiliate.
The netminder added that he hasn't heard from Senators general manager Pierre Dorion since being waived.
Murray holds a substandard .890 save percentage and a headache-inducing 3.26 goals-against average across six starts this campaign, which probably isn't what Ottawa expected when it signed the two-time Stanley Cup champion to a four-year, $25-million deal in October 2020.
However, Murray has struggled to stay healthy. A non-COVID-19 illness sidelined him to begin the season. He then suited up for two games before sustaining a head injury. The 27-year-old eventually returned to action for another three contests and then tested positive for COVID-19.
He returned to the crease last Wednesday and surrendered four goals in a loss to the San Jose Sharks. That was the last game he played before the Senators, who sit in the league's basement with a 4-14-1 record, placed him on waivers Saturday.
Murray gave an honest answer Tuesday when asked if he felt he was being blamed for Ottawa's early-season struggles.
"I do, yeah. I also think that's part of what you sign up for as a goalie. I think that comes with the territory," he said. "I don't think I've been bad, but I haven't been good enough to win."
Murray said the Senators informed him about their plan to waive him with the intention of sending him to Belleville following the team's 4-0 road loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. He didn't dress for that game.
The netminder flew back from California on his own after hearing the club's decision. He summed up his feelings during that flight with one word Tuesday.
"Confusion. Honestly, it was the main one," Murray said. "A lot of confusion, but at the end of the day, I thought about what I wanted to get out of (an AHL stint).
"I'm here to make the most of it and keep my eye on the prize and eventually obviously get back up there as soon as possible."
Murray has played in just 33 games with the Senators over two seasons. He's authored a .892 save percentage and 3.35 goals-against average during that span.