I liked the idea of targeting Murray, but it was because it was an opportunity to have All of the leverage. There is no sure fire good bet in this goalie market. I don't think the Georgiev deal was a better use of assets, Campbell getting #1 money despite severe volatility and never playing over 40 games is a bad risk, Keumper's getting even more after a weak playoff hampered by a scary eye injury isn't enticing, so I get the idea of buying very low on Murray or getting some significant assets to take a shorter term bet, but Dubas fell in love with Murray as a player rather than falling in love with the idea of making a smart bet where he could extract max value.
Had the Leafs managed to get Murray for free at a $2.5M cap hit or lower by forcing Ottawa to pay assets to a 3rd team for retention, then great. Had Dubas gotten significantly more value in futures for taking on Murray than was reported on the table for Buffalo, then again, acceptable. Getting significantly less than a deal that was nixed, that's throwing away assets.
Ottawa does well here. The money matters as much as the cap hit, and they got out from under approximately $11M in real dollars over the next couple of years, and they did so without giving up much of anything. Dorion was up against a wall. We know what he was prepared to do to move Murray, we know after taking on Debrincat's salary along with future QO that his motivation level should have gone up and not down, and we know that there was basically no competition for this deal. Despite all of that, Dorion negotiates the price to take on Murray downward, and somehow creates enough Urgency that Dubas pulls the trigger early, despite the fact Dubas could easily have circled back later. So what if one of Washington or Edmonton makes the deal first, that just means you are one of the two teams bidding for one of the two starters. Let one of those teams take themselves out of the running if that's the case, and then you can squeeze whichever UFA doesn't get the biggest deal.
This is the deal you make when all other options are completely off the table. Ottawa wins, and Toronto takes a worthy gamble, but doesn't get paid even close to enough of a risk premium to do so.
I have to agree, the return here is very underwhelming.
I have a feeling they probably did try to get a third team to retain, it's possible that neither side would agree to pay the third team.
The plus is that Murray's contract ends at the time as Matthews and Nylander. If they inked Campbell to the contract he's asking for, it would have been an issue getting AM and WN extended in two years. So there's a positive there.
I find it ironic that everyone is praising Dorion for getting rid of the ugly contract he signed, but Dubas gets ridiculed for offloading a bad contract he signed. Standard TOR hate. You could make the argument that Dorion gave up less to get rid of Murray than Dubas did with Mrazek, but we'd be splitting hairs on the value.
At the end of the day, this is Dubas' big gamble. If Murray turns it around and stays healthy, Dubas looks like a genius. If not, his job may be on the line. Only time will tell.