Connect with us

Penguins

Penguins Blog: Say No to These 3 Possibilities

Published

on

Jarry goal-against in Colorado

No, non, nyet, ei, nej, ingen. There are plenty of ideas floating about on how to make the Pittsburgh Penguins better, or at least purge their roster of underachievers and fan un-favorites. From deep cuts via more Penguins trades to turning loose the prospects like kids at a birthday party, there are ideas.

But most ideas should receive a firm veto.

For the record, the above no translations are French, Russian, Finnish, Swedish, and Danish, respectively, just to represent all of the languages that would fly in the Penguins dressing room.

Who among us hasn’t been wrong? However, there are plenty of opinions and assertions for the Penguins offseason that have gained traction, which won’t, can’t, and definitely should not happen. As Nancy Reagan once said, “Just say no.”

My, the country has changed just a little bit since then, eh?

3 Penguins “Noes”

Trade Tristan Jarry

For context, we need to look no further than the Penguins’ division rival, the New Jersey Devils, who are finding the costs prohibitive to acquire the one piece that would transform them from a team out of the playoffs into a Stanley Cup contender.

The line that follows “trade Jarry” usually involves re-signing Alex Nedeljkovic and installing top goalie prospect Joel Blomqvist on the NHL roster, too.

Working backward, Nedeljkovic failed to keep a .900 save percentage as he held the Penguins net in that 14-game final charge. There is a beguiling argument for Nedeljkovic’s return, but not as an unquestioned No. 1 starter.

After a shaky playoff performance, there are real questions if Blomqvist is ready for the big show, too.

So, trade a starting goalie without another readily available and an exorbitant cost to acquire one for what could be Sidney Crosby’s last great year? Nope.

Buy out Ryan Graves

Graves has five years remaining on his contract, which means a buyout would be 10 years of eating $750,000. Ten years. Imagine the annual frustration of buying out a player in 2014, and it just ended. Imagine a decade of trade deadlines and free agent frenzies with valuable salary cap space long gone.

The Penguins are much better off trying to salvage what looks like an ill-fitting free-agent signing.

A buyout would be insanity.

Give the Young Players a Chance!

It sounds good, and in theory, the Penguins management would like to refresh their roster with the fruits of the prospect tree. Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas acknowledged the team must get younger when he addressed the media following the Jake Guentzel trade in early March.

However, like a politician promising to cure the evils that affect constituents, a bumper sticker slogan or ideal can sound great, but the solutions in practice are another matter.

Over the past week, we spoke with folks around the Moose Jaw Warriors—the WHL team that features Penguins top forward prospect Brayden Yager—and scouted him in person. He’s probably not ready for NHL duty next season. Read the PHN+ Yager scouting report here.

Sure, stat sheets and optimism paint a bright picture of Yager and others, such as Ville Koivunen. Still, the cold reality of the Penguins’ farm system is that Sam Poulin, Jonathan Gruden, and Vasily Ponomarev are the best available options for the start of next season. One or two of those players very well might earn an NHL sweater, but none are going to make a large impact. They certainly won’t be scoring contributors in the top nine.

Ponomarev is the only one who might break through that ceiling. Since he was injured four games into his Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins debut following the Guentzel trade, he’s a bit of an unknown commodity. However, given that the Carolina Hurricanes protected their top prospects from the Penguins in that trade, hopes for a middle-six contributor should be tempered.

An internal refresh of youth is much more likely in the summers of 2025 and 2026 when Yager, defenseman Owen Pickering, Koivunen, and Tristan Broz have some professional seasoning.

The Penguins’ plight should serve as a case study in GM school: Don’t trade your first-round picks for short-term fixes. The fixes usually don’t fix the issue, and the bill eventually comes due.

Will the kids storm the NHL roster? Again, nope, but in this case, be patient because they are indeed on their way, just not for 2024-25.

28 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

28 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
KenNJ
KenNJ
11 days ago

Just really sound reasoning.

William Maloni
William Maloni
11 days ago

Sounds reasoning, yes!
But, Jarry (despite his shutouts) seems to develop the “yips” in tight games at the worst times in the third period. If the NHL demand is what you describe, some team–ideally more than one– would want him and pay up in young talent or draft picks.

rhodepop
rhodepop
11 days ago
Reply to  William Maloni

Jarry is above average-that is about it. The yips? Probably. But the team scored over 4 goals per game in that closing stretch when Ned was in the net. For Jarry’s losses, they scored under 2 goals per game. Scoring covers up a lot of mistakes in the net. His yips get magnified in those one-goal losses. Several (many?) teams need goalies. There are a couple of good ones that will be made available in July. I am not averse to a Jarry trade but the Ned/Blomqvist/TBD is not at all reassuring unless that TBD is Gustavsson or better.

Eri
Eri
10 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

If Jarry is traded (his clause taken into account) it would have to be for immediate NHL help, preferably for depth scoring. Goaltending has proven to be fluky, even in the playoffs – you had Sesterkin as the NYR backbone beating CAR; then you have Skinner in EDM stopping 34 of 35 allowing McDavid to compete in the Finals while Oettinger allowed 2 goals on 10 total SOG in a game where he needed to be better. It’s undoubtedly the most important position, but if the Pens can get average goaltending next year, have a competent power play and some… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
11 days ago

It really isn’t going to matter what the Penguins do — they are in for a rough ride for the rest of the 2020s. They have little help on the way but by the time it gets here Crosby will likely retire — and Malkin and Letang already have one foot in that direction.

Tom
Tom
11 days ago

No one ever mentions the elephant in the room. Geno. Pens find it hard to find a player that gels with him. After extensive knee surgery & age, the superstar has lost a step. It may be time to move him. Not trade, just to wing and possibly 3rd line! Use he big body as a net front presence!!!

Jason
Jason
10 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Like butting geld with him this year

Matthew Caddy
Matthew Caddy
11 days ago

1 for 3 on this one. They may be stuck stashing Graves’ contract in Wilkes for a while and letting him work on his game. The Pens have to get younger at some point, so they might as well start finding out what they have, even if it’s just 1 or 2 players. And finally, YES trade Jarry. When has he ever shown he can be a reliable #1 goalie? He’s never shown up in big games and regularly lets in soft goals at the worst times. Whether it’s Ned or another vet, the team is better off with that… Read more »

Eri
Eri
11 days ago

Save % is one metric, just like plus/minus – I think it means even less in today’s NHL. They want the league to score more, entertain fans, and bring in new fans to increase revenue – this will mean the goalie save % will likely decrease. You also have to look at the defensive structure in front, perhaps the goalie save % should be graded on a curve. I’m fine with Jarry as 1A – but if Ned is predicted at 2 mil x 2 years, that’s very reasonable, and should be signed as the 1B. No reason you couldn’t… Read more »

Jim
Jim
11 days ago
Reply to  Eri

Significant changes are not going to happen. Neither is making the playoffs.

Cal
Cal
11 days ago

Thank you for some common sense on these topics.

DaGama
DaGama
11 days ago

Jarry is the most overrated Pens goalie since post Cup Matt Murray.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
11 days ago
Reply to  DaGama

I wouldn’t say that he’s overrated. I would say inconsistent. We can say that about every player on the team other than Sid.

Steve
Steve
11 days ago

Here’s a stat for ya, Ryan Graves was 21st in the entire league amongst Dmen ( 750 minutes played at least) in GA/60.
Trade him and Jarry. Oh, and Malkin,Letang, and Karlsson.

Wasnt
Wasnt
11 days ago

You left out on your “say no to” get rid of Sullivan.

Brian X
Brian X
11 days ago

Ned with Brossoit or Samsonov would be better than Tristan and anyone else

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
11 days ago
Reply to  Brian X

Samsonov has had almost the same career as Jarry, including the same underlying issues. I don’t know much about Brossoit except that he has bounced around a lot.

Brian X
Brian X
11 days ago

Yes, but you can probably have two of the three for less than Jarry alone and use
the savings elsewhere. Jarry is overpaid.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
10 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

I left that out so that i would not get attacked by Jarry haters. Lol trying to put it nicely that Samsonov would not be an upgrade.

Brian X
Brian X
10 days ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Two other differences, Samsonov was $1.8M less with a 23-7-8 record to Jarry’s 19-25-5.

Uros
Uros
10 days ago

We should trade Jarry and invest in that position and a top 3, not top 6,winger or center. If you look at Skinner, who’s ruined Edmonton’s chances in previous years, you’ll find that he found his game and is actually good. Oettinger is also good. These goalies are both 25, Jarry is almost 30. We’re still waiting for him to go big. Oh it’s the defense, oh it’s this, it’s that… No, it is the goalie. If it’s not a lie that we’re trying to be competitive and that EK is chasing the cup and that’s why he signed here,… Read more »

mark fields
mark fields
10 days ago

Great article.
The most interesting stat of Jarry is the .920 save percentage Oct-Dec, and .900 to sub .900 from Jan – Apr…..that is a career split. Yet, there aren’t a lot of options. And if the team can play well in front of him and limit chances like they did for a few of his shutouts, maybe he can be like Skinner and look good in playoffs….but definitely need a 1B with him for a run in playoffs.
The youth comment was bang on great article

Chris
Chris
10 days ago

In 2015, prominent media outlets (like ESPN) had Jake Guentzel ranked the number 9 Pens prospect. Just a reminder that these rankings prospects are getting are by no means very accurate or predictive.

For some further perspective, ESPN had Sergei Plotnikov number 2, Scott Wilson at 5, and Adam Clendening at 6

Ujn Hunter
Ujn Hunter
10 days ago

Nancy Reagan? Really? Country a better place then? Really?