Pens’ Murray voted AHL’s top goalie

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Matt Murray of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins has been voted the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2014-15 season.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

A 20-year-old rookie, Murray has helped the Penguins clinch their 13th consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs, and is a big reason why Wilkes-Barre/Scranton leads the league in team defense (2.11 goals per game). Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Murray owns a record of 25-9-3 in 39 appearances, and his 1.51 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and 12 shutouts not only lead the league in 2014-15, they also all represent the second-best marks in the 79-year history of the AHL.

Murray set an AHL record for longest shutout streak by a goaltender when he held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton opponents off the scoreboard for 304 minutes and 11 seconds between Feb. 8 and Mar. 8, a stretch that included four consecutive shutout victories. Murray is an impressive 13-3-3 on the road this season, and since the All-Star break overall, he is 15-2-1 with 17 goals allowed and nine shutouts in 18 starts.

Murray, a native of Thunder Bay, Ont., was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was named a First Team AHL All-Star and the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie, and becomes just the second rookie in the last 20 years to win the Baz Bastien Award.

The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Corey Hirsch (1993), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Michael Leighton (2008), Cory Schneider (2009), Jonathan Bernier (2010), Niklas Svedberg (2013) and Jake Allen (2014).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 2014-15 regular season ends Sunday, and then 16 clubs will continue to vie for the league’s coveted championship trophy when the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway next week.

The winner of the 2014-15 Les Cunningham Award (most valuable player) will be announced Friday.