Over the weekend, the Ottawa Senators – spiraling in what is increasingly looking like a lost season – made a noteworthy move, placing goaltender Matt Murray on waivers.

The Senators acquired Murray 13 months ago, sending a second-round draft pick and prospect Jonathan Gruden to the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Canadian netminder. Murray checked a lot of boxes for the organization – he had already won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Penguins and at the age of 26, figured to have a lot more game in his tank.

But notably: the team bought low on Murray, whose game fell apart during the 2019-20 regular season. Pittsburgh didn’t have much of an answer for Murray’s struggles, but they saw enough to begin displacing some of his starts, turning their net over to Tristan Jarry. For Ottawa, it was an opportunity to bet on a player with some pedigree at a fraction of the cost – and, if all went well, the Senators could have security in their net as they transitioned out of a rebuild.

Good front offices are always looking for deals and discounts in the National Hockey League – aggressively-spending teams have to deal with the league’s hard-cap ceiling, and cost-conscious teams like Ottawa are always going to be particular about where their capital allocation goes. In the case of Ottawa and Murray, general manager Pierre Dorion bet Murray was the player we saw in the early stretches of his career, and that his future play would return to that baseline.

Ottawa would end up giving Murray 33 games before pulling the plug. In some ways, Murray appears to be the first casualty within the organization, the first player to shoulder responsibility for another dismal start. The Senators, for some reason, anticipated they would be competitive this year. And it’s clear they think goaltending is at the root of what ails them right now – considering the team’s stopping just 89 per cent of shots faced, it’s hard to blame them.