Tristan Jarry made 26 saves on 28 shots in Tuesday night’s win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He earned the win and the locker room helmet from captain Sidney Crosby. But for many Pittsburgh Penguins fans, Jarry still has much to prove if he wishes to entirely wash away his disappointing Round One series against the New York Islanders last season and get out of the NHL trade chatter.
The 26-year-old netminder struggled last May with 21 goals against in just six games and a .888 save percentage. Jarry’s glove hand and puck handling skills faced backlash. More than a few fans and some media insisted the Penguins needed an upgrade.
But the people who are actually in charge had different thoughts on Jarry.
President of Hockey Operations for the Pittsburgh Penguins Brian Burke joined 93.7 The Fan Pittsburgh on The Fan Morning Show Wednesday and expressed his faith in a bounceback season from Jarry.
“Did he have a great playoff last summer? No, he did not,” Burke said. “That is not uncommon for young players. I can give you a list of goaltenders that started off with poor first and second times out. We believe in Tristan Jarry, and we believe he will be fine.”
Pittsburgh Penguins Offseason Goaltending NHL Trade Rumors
Burke mentioned how there was little to no serious talks about looking elsewhere for goaltending assistance in the offseason. Rumors of the Penguins adding a veteran goaltender like Petr Mrazek or Brayden Holtby appear to be just NHL trade myths.
“To say that we never looked at another goaltender would be false. But I think Jars (Tristan Jarry) knows that it was never a priority for us and something we went looking for–and there is a big difference,” said Burke.
After being unexpectedly traded from the Vegas Golden Knights, Marc-Andre Fleury reportedly considered retirement. While national outlets linked Fleury to the Penguins via trade, our Editor-in-Chief Dan Kingerski and other local outlets cited sources that dismissed the chatter. Burke also shot down those NHL trade rumors.
“His name came up from time to time. But frankly, no, he was not in our cap universe and not something we spent a lot of time on. If I said yes, it is tampering, so no.”
“I think Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith knew that there was going to be chatter because there always is, but there is no determined effort to replace anybody here,” said Burke.
Tristan Jarry’s Similarities to Marc-Andre Fleury
Speaking of Fleury, there are many parallels that Jarry has with the Penguins’ all-time leader in goaltender wins. In both 2012 and 2013, Fleury was atrocious in the playoffs, and as a result, the Penguins brought in Mike Bales as a goaltending coach. Bales not only improved Fleury’s game but also helped Matt Murray blossom into a two-time Stanley Cup Champion.
After Jarry’s collapse in the 2021 playoffs, the Penguins promoted Andy Chiodo as the new goaltending coach for the team. Chiodo worked with both Jarry and DeSmith in Wilkes-Barre in years past, and Chiodo’s motto is to “Be where your feet are.”
A postseason stumble is not uncommon for young goaltenders. Hendrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Billy Smith, Grant Fuhr, and Fleury are some examples of goaltending greats that had below a .900 save percentage in their first playoff outing.
Pittsburgh Penguins Starter- Tristan Jarry
“This guy is big. He is extremely gifted, he is talented and very athletic, he is a great kid, and he has been a star in virtually every level that he has played at. He was a star in the American League. He was a star in the Western Hockey League. So we believe in this kid,” Burke said.
With the Penguins’ current injury situation, Jarry’s role on the team is even more important to start the season. Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel are the absent stars, but the Penguins are also without Zach-Aston Reese and offensive defenseman Mike Matheson.
This will be the first full 82-game season with Tristan Jarry as the Penguins starter. Over the next six months, we’ll get to see his progression. And then, after that, maybe we’ll get to see what he learned from that Round One defeat.
*Owen Krepps is an intern for Pittsburgh Hockey Now (with a bright future). Follow him on Twitter @OKrepps85