Matt Murray understands why the Ottawa Senators left him unprotected for 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, and must take 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 the Senators on Oct. 9, 2020.
The Senators protected Filip Gustavsson in lieu of Murray after the two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins went 10-13-1 with an NHL career-high 3.38 goals-against average, NHL career-low .893 save percentage and two shutouts 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 after allowing one goal in 24:13. Murray missed 23 games this season because of injuries.
Murray’s shutouts came in three starts after Zac Bierk was named goaltending coach April 6.
“He 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.”
Gustavsson 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.
Goalies Marcus Hogberg (14 games), Anton Forsberg (eight) and Joey Daccord (eight) also played for the Senators this season.
The Senators (23-28-5) were 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.