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Penguins Trade Talk: No Backup Goalies, Trust in Jarry

By Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)],

Despite some confusion over the pronunciation of his late name, Tristan Jarry is an NHL goaltender. He is ready for the show. Jarry has two wins in four appearances, including his stellar relief of Matt Murray, Monday night. The Penguins don’t need to shop for backup goalies, the Pittsburgh Penguins should trust in Jarry.

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, as did Hockey Night in Canada two weeks ago, indicated the Penguins could be in the market for a veteran goaltender to back up Murray.

Let’s be clear–the Pittsburgh Penguins can search the planet, they won’t get a better goalie than Jarry, without giving up an asset…a real asset. The sadistic NHL schedule makers pummeled teams with back-to-backs this season (in part because of the bye week experiment). Backup goalies are more important this season than years past.

And, there has been a spate of starting goalie injuries. Or, in the case of the Vegas Golden Knights, as the spate of backup, backup, backup goalie injuries.

Antti Niemi (MTL) is still receiving an NHL paycheck not because hockey GM’s are generous folk around the holidays, but because there isn’t anyone else.

Tristan Jarry Analysis

Jarry plays with the poise and positioning of a big goaltender, but the athleticism of a small one. His post to post movement to take away an open net from NHL leading goal scorer Nikita Kucherov, Saturday was a thing of beauty.

Jarry made no less than half-dozen sparkling saves to preserve the Penguins momentum against Tampa Bay. He did the same against Philadelphia, Monday.

Jarry has made only three starts in the NHL but has not lost in regulation. He was able to solve the Penguins back-to-back woes with solid showings on the road against Calgary and Nashville, which the Penguins lost in Overtime and in a Shootout, respectively.

Jarry’s stats rival Matt Murray’s statistical output this season–which means because of the Penguins occasional pylon defense, the eye test has produced far better results than the stat sheet.

Overall, Jarry is 2-0-2, with a .907 save percentage and 2.83 goals against average. More salient, Jarry’s even strength save percentage is .928.

In 21 games, Murray has a .906 save percentage and 2.95 goals against average.

In other years, those overall numbers would be awful for a Penguins starting goalie. This year? Because of the awful penalty killing and blowout losses, they are nearly spectacular.

Why Goalie Shop?

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford should have enough on his plate with the Ian Cole saga, the tepid offensive play of third line center Riley Sheahan, and the relatively non-existent play of his fourth line.

What more can Jarry prove against AHL shooters? He may be able to sand the final rough edges from his game with more playing time, but that playing time should occur in the NHL, and it appears he is about to get that opportunity.

If indeed Rutherford wants another goalie, he should be looking for the veteran third string type, like Michael Hutchinson or Anders Lindback (Not necessarily those players, but NHL experienced goalies currently in the AHL).

In fact, the Penguins should make an effort to create more starts for Jarry, even after Murray returns from the lower body injury.

They currently have the best of all worlds with Jarry–a talented backup, a low paid backup, and a goalie who will improve with more playing time.

Any veteran goalie acquired by the Penguins should not cost an asset nor take time away from Jarry’s development. Jarry could be yet another special goalie from the Penguins system. Now is the time to invest in the final stage of his development and let him play. That decision will yield dividends for years.

 

–Don’t forget, set your DVR’s or watch it with us–Pittsburgh Hockey Now on the CW Network, this Saturday at 11:30 am!!  We’ll talk more about Ian Cole, Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury’s concussions, and…what to pay Patric Hornqvist. Spread the word!

Kenna James at Blush
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