Penguins’ Jarry Says He Was Injured All Season; Questions Abound
COLUMBUS — Tristan Jarry was indeed injured. It did affect his performance. Player and coach could finally admit the truth Thursday night after the Pittsburgh Penguins lost in OT to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Jarry was dealing with multiple injuries, not just one.
“I was playing with a lot of injuries, playing through a lot. So it was tough,” Jarry said. “It’s tough to get practices and tough to tough to get consistent gameplay. And it was just a tough season altogether for me.”
Jarry was on the injured list twice this season, once with an upper-body injury and once with a lower body, and played just 46 games.
In November, he told reporters he was dealing with injuries that affected his play, but coach Mike Sullivan publicly corrected him. Jarry didn’t admit to injury again.
In his 46 appearances, Jarry was 24-13-6 with career lows in goals-against-average (2.90) and his second-worst save percentage (.909).
Jarry left the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 in the first period with an apparent injury. He returned briefly on Jan. 20 but was again placed on the injured list on Jan. 22 through Feb. 20.
This time, Sullivan didn’t deny his goalie was injured.
“Well, this is the conversation we’ve had all year with you guys. You know, it’s an imperfect situation,” Sullivan said. “We try to make the best of it. A lot of good a lot of players deal with stuff going on throughout the course of the year. It’s the nature of the business. We try to do our best.”
Jarry’s season can now be viewed in a different light. Inconsistency. Struggles to stop the puck. The cascading factor of injuries and abused confidence put the Penguins in a difficult spot.
Should Jarry have sat longer to get healthy? PHN asked, but it seems Jarry won’t need surgery. He was faced with a choice this season. Play through it, or miss the season.
“What I was dealing with wasn’t going to be fixed, so it was either something I play through or don’t play at all,” said Jarry. “And I couldn’t just watch. That’s not me. It was tough watching, and every day, I wanted to be out there no matter what.”
Jarry will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the crop of goalies is not a bumper crop. The Pittsburgh Penguins have a hard decision to make regarding Jarry’s future. The team doesn’t have a goalie in waiting, and acquiring a starting goalie isn’t easy.
Tristan Jarry could be the Penguins’ best option for a starter, but what the free agent market will bear for an unproven goalie off a turbulent season is a complicated question.
However, another question can be asked in earnest. If GM Ron Hextall knew Jarry was playing through injuries that would not improve, why did the Pittsburgh Penguins GM not act?
Hextall used the cap savings from trading Brock McGrinn and Teddy Blueger to acquire winger Mikael Granlund.
Why not a goalie? A healthy one.
Sullivan’s usage of Jarry also adds intrigue to the situation. If Jarry was playing through injuries which restricted or limited his abilities, why didn’t backup Casey DeSmith play more often, including the meaningless finale to the regular season Thursday?
DeSmith had a subpar first half but was, at times, fantastic in the second half. DeSmith was emblematic of the inconsistent Penguins as he soldiered to a 3.17 GAA and .905 save percentage. In the first half, DeSmith’s save percentage was well below .900.
DeSmith was a gamble on each start. Which goalie were the Penguins getting?
Perhaps Jarry will get a chance to improve upon this season with the Penguins. Or perhaps he will have a hefty new contract elsewhere.
Tristan Jarry said he hasn’t given a thought to his future, but that’s about to change. It’s just another of the questions, including just how good the goalie can become, that remain unanswered.