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Leafs G Murray skates, but return still 'long ways away'

Matt Murray Toronto Maple Leafs Matt Murray - The Canadian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray was on the ice in full pads ahead of the team's practice on Friday. 

Murray has spend the entire season on LTIR after undergoing bilateral hip surgery in October. He given a timeline of six-to-eight months for recovery following the operation.

The 29-year-old departed the ice prior to the Maple Leafs starting their practice. Afterwards, head coach Sheldon Keefe called it "a very good sign" that Murray was on the ice, but clarified he is a ways away from game action.

"Today was probably the biggest step he's taken in terms of our guys being out there ... looks like he's moving well," Keefe said.

Murray went 14-8-2 with a .903 save percentage and a 3.01 goals-against average last season, his first in Toronto, while dealing with several different injuries over the campaign.

He is in the final year of his contract, signed at a cap hit of $4.69 million for Toronto, with the Ottawa Senators retaining an additional $1.56 million on their books. He was acquired in 2022 from the Senators, along with a third-round draft pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, in exchange for future considerations.  Ottawa signed Murray to his current four-year, $25 million contract in free agency in 2020.

Murray has been limited to 27 games or less in each of the past three seasons. In 272 career games, he has a 146-86-24 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA.

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.