By Dave Fryer, Contributor to InsidePittsburghSports.com
MATT MURRAY (age: 20)
Had a phenomenal year in the OHL (32-11-6/2.57/.921), backed with solid post-season numbers (4-3-2/2.63/.915). Raised his performance on loose pucks around the net and improved his overall consistency, which were his two biggest weaknesses. A tryout contract with WBS yielded an April start, where he allowed just 2 goals on 25 shots. Played 1 period of playoff hockey in the AHL, allowing 0 goals on 8 shots.
Ready to emerge as a legitimate NHL prospect after being somewhat overlooked previously due to a few weaknesses and the attention on Tristan Jarry. Now among the more exciting prospects in the system, will push for a role in Wilkes Barre this season.
2014 Development Camp Assessment
An exciting prospect prospect with NHL potential. Excellent size at 6-4, 170. Murray’s improved footwork jumped out during some of the side work done by the goaltenders during the camp. Much improved from last season. Murray is also improved on low shots from getting his pads in place far more quickly. And his recovery is remarkably better than it was last summer. Farther along in his development than No. 1 goaltending prospect Tristan Jarry and outperformed Jarry in camp.
PLAYER INTERVIEWS: MATT MURRAY
On the Development Camp experience: “It’s always a great week when we get to come here. This is the first real time we get to compete since the end of the season. It’s certainly been awhile for me. It’s always a great week, and it’s great to meet all of the new staff here in Pittsburgh. This week is outstanding for all of us.”
On what he learned at Development Camp: “The biggest takeaway for me this week is the competition we have here in the organization. That’s one of the biggest goals, I think, of this week is to show everybody who you are competing against. There is a lot of talent here. We’re friends and teammates, but at the same time, we’re competing against each other for a certain number of spots.”
On his continued progression: “I’m just trying to focus on the same things I always have: getting stronger, getting faster, getting more explosive. I’ve been working on the mental side of the game, as well. I’m trying to strengthen my mental game and my mental toughness. I know what I need to work on, and it’s been going well.”
On his physical improvements: “I’m more aware of my approach. I’m certainly aware of what it takes to be a pro now. So I’ve improved my approach to the gym during the summertime and my approach to trying my very best each and every time I go on the ice. Maybe when you’re younger you don’t realize how hard you really have to push yourself, and I’m starting to learn that now.”
On his upcoming season: “My goal this year is this year to come into training camp and really make an impression. Basically I want to be always competing for a spot and competing for games. I definitely don’t want to be sitting on the bench, no matter where I am, that’s for sure. Every goalie will tell you that. So that’s basically my mindset – I’m competing for starts and a roster spot.”
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