Penguins GM: Two-goalie system 'hasn't worked … as well as I thought it would'

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Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) takes a timeout and visits with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 17, 2016. The Penguins won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The goaltending tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray will likely be broken up at some point in the next few months.

Either Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford will convince Fleury, who turned 32 on Monday, to waive his no-movement clause before before the March 1 trade deadline and deal him away; convince him to waive it before the June expansion draft; or, in a long shot, trade Murray. Having both on the roster for next season seems unbelievable because if you’re George McPhee and have the option to select either of them to be your No. 1 in Las Vegas next season, you’re going to do it.

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For now, the defending Stanley Cup champions are riding their 1-2 punch in goal, even though Rutherford admitted to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that that plan hasn’t gone the way he envisioned it would.

“Despite the fact I like having the two top goalies, it’s difficult when both goalies are used to playing the majority of the games,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday. “You get into weeks where they’re splitting and going every other game. That hasn’t worked, at this point, as well as I thought it would.”

The Penguins currently sit two points behind the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division with Fleury making 14 starts and Murray grabbing eight after he recovered from a broken hand suffered at the World Cup of Hockey. So far, Murray has been the better goaltender, posting a .959 even strength save percentage compared to that of Fleury’s .913.

Head coach Mike Sullivan has recently leaned on Murray by giving him his eight starts in the Penguins’ last 13 games, which has resulted in a 7-4-2 record. Fleury has only made back-to-back starts once since Murray returned.

Rutherford also told Molinari that he’s not feeling pressure to decide between Fleury and Murray yet and declined to say if other teams are inquiring about a trade. The GM did give Murray a three-year extension last month that kicks in next season. Fleury, meanwhile, has two more years left on his deal that carries a $5.75 million cap hit. Losing one would also mean a bit of cap relief for a team that spends to the ceiling on an annual basis.

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For their part, the two goaltenders have worked well together, with Murray stating numerous times dating back to last season just how much of a positive influence Fleury has been on him. Pittsburgh’s goaltending situation became a story during last spring’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the questions won’t be going away anytime soon for Rutherford.

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!