Matt Murray understands why the Ottawa Senators left him unprotected in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN1, SN NOW), his agent told the Ottawa Sun.
The 27-year-old goalie was informed by Senators general manager Pierre Dorion on Saturday that he would be made available to the Seattle Kraken.
“Matt gets it 100 percent and he’s fine with it,” Murray’s agent, Robert Hooper, said in remarks published Sunday. “Pierre explained to Matt that they don’t want to lose him, and based on their educated guess they don’t believe they will. The Senators don’t feel this will be a big risk to the team.”
The Kraken have until 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday to submit their expansion draft selections. They must choose 30 players, one from each team except the Vegas Golden Knights, including a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies from the lists of unprotected players.
Murray has three seasons left on a four-year, $25 million contract ($6.25 million average annual value) he signed as a restricted free agent with Ottawa on Oct. 9, 2020.
The Senators protected Filip Gustavsson in lieu of Murray after the two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins was 10-13-1 with NHL career worsts in goals-against average (3.38) and save percentage (.893) in 27 games (25 starts) this season. He last played April 24, when he left a 4-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in the second period with a lower-body injury. Murray missed 23 games because of injuries.
Gustavsson made his NHL debut this season and was 5-1-2 with a 2.16 GAA and .933 save percentage in nine games (seven starts). The 23-year-old can become a restricted free agent July 28.
“[Murray] loves where he lives in Ottawa and he loves the city.” Hooper said. “He’s looking forward to next year and he’s very focused on getting off to a great start and being healthy. He’s very excited about that team and the young talent they have. He believes that each year they’re going to get better and better.”
Marcus Hogberg (14 games), Anton Forsberg (eight) and Joey Daccord (eight) also played goalie this season for the Senators (23-28-5), who finished sixth in the seven-team Scotia North Division and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season after reaching the 2017 Eastern Conference Final.