Connect with us

Penguins

Should Penguins Hold Off On Giving Jarry New Contract?

Published

on

pittsburgh penguins, tristan jarry

The Pittsburgh Penguins wouldn’t have to try hard to justify re-signing Tristan Jarry before training camp opens in about three weeks.

In fact, a strong case for doing just that was made in this space a few weeks ago.

Jarry, after all, is only 27, is coming off an all-star season in 2021-22 and projects as the most attractive goalie on the market next summer if he’s allowed to reach unrestricted free agency.

He demonstrated his grit and desire to compete when, after being sidelined for weeks by a serious foot injury, he was adamant about returning for Game 7 of the Penguins’ opening-round playoff series against the New York Rangers in May.

Jarry might not have been at his very best in that game — he allowed four goals on 30 shots — but he was good enough to give his team a chance to win, which is all that reasonably could have been expected of him.

So, getting a deal done with him as quickly as possible is the obvious way to go, right?

Well, yeah, it is … assuming the Pittsburgh Penguins are convinced that Jarry has exorcised the postseason demons that emerged during the final two games of their Round 1 series with the New York Islanders in 2021.

Which they had better be, if they’re inclined to make a long-term, big-money commitment to him.

Even those who believe the Penguins’ window to seriously contend for another Stanley Cup hasn’t closed acknowledge that the team’s best-case scenario is to be a significant force in the playoffs for just a few more seasons.

If they truly expect (or even hope) to challenge for a championship, having exceptional goaltending must be a major part of the equation, and there’s nothing in Jarry’s limited playoff history to prove he can provide it.

Now, the eight-game sample size is too small to allow any definitive conclusions to be drawn, but Jarry’s personal numbers are, to be charitable, underwhelming: He is 2-6, with a 3.00 goals-against average and .891 save percentage.

In fairness, the circumstances under which Jarry has played have, at times, been less than ideal. He made his playoff debut in Game 4 of the qualifying round against Montreal in 2020, and allowed just one goal in what became a 2-0 defeat, and faced the Rangers in Game 7 two years later after a lengthy absence.

Most of his playoff work came against the Islanders in 2021, when he played pretty well at the start, but flamed out as the series progressed.

Jarry turned aside 38 shots during a victory in Game 2 and 30 more as the Penguins won Game 3, but things soured after that.

New York scored on 12 of 78 shots against him in the final three games, including five on 24 shots in the series finale at Nassau Coliseum. And Jarry’s mind-numbing giveaway that led to Josh Bailey’s game-winner in double-overtime of Game 5 permanently tilted the series in the Islanders’ favor.

Although Jarry’s play was the most important variable in a series the Pittsburgh Penguins were quite capable of winning, Ron Hextall and the rest of management resisted any temptation there might have been to part ways with him, insisting that Jarry would rebound.

And he did.

During the regular season.

Whether he would have during the playoffs — which is what really matters for a team trying to defy steep odds to win a Cup — is an unanswered question, thanks to the injury that limited him to 64-plus minutes of work against the Rangers.

Yes, he played pretty well that night, so the Penguins can be encouraged by that.

Then again, Jarry had been very good during Game 4 against the Canadiens in his playoff debut, but that didn’t portend how he would perform in the latter stages of the Islanders series the following season.

If the Penguins give Jarry a new contract in coming weeks or months, it will be a tangible statement of their confidence in him.

But if they don’t — if they want proof that he can provide the kind of goaltending they will need to succeed in a high-stakes setting — it will be completely understandable.

Maybe even prudent.

Jarry’s asking price surely would go up — perhaps by a lot — if he contributes to an extended playoff run next spring, and that could be an issue for a team that routinely is snug to the salary-cap ceiling.

But the price of giving a lot of money and term to a goaltender who, for whatever reason, does his best work during the regular season could be even higher.

It’s not unreasonable — or totally unfounded — for the Pittsburgh Penguins to have faith in Jarry as a goalie who can help them perform to their potential during the playoffs.

But it wouldn’t be unfair for them to ask to see a little more evidence of that before committing to him for the final chapters of this era in franchise history.

Subscribe to PHN+
18 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
18 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Doug Ukish
Doug Ukish
29 days ago

Agree. Evaluation required!

Doug Ukish
Doug Ukish
29 days ago
Reply to  Dave Molinari

Based on reading about Joel Blomqvist, how much the Pens management like him, and being the #1Prospect, maybe he can make the leap and we know how competition makes everyone play better.

Pens' Igloo
Pens' Igloo
29 days ago
Reply to  Doug Ukish

As high as I am on Blomqvist, he’s only 20 years old and has only played a few games of professional hockey in N.A. At best, he’s several seasons away from the NHL.

Doug Ukish
Doug Ukish
29 days ago
Reply to  Pens' Igloo

He is young, and you are probably right. What was M Murray when he won the crease, 22? We probably should lock Jarry up, bit not sale the farm.

Rick
Rick
28 days ago
Reply to  Doug Ukish

No one can tell how Blomqvist will adapt to N.A. hockey, that is true. However, I have watched him play, he is fundamentally sound. Because of his skill set, don’t rush into signing Jarry to anything long term until you see how Blomqvist, or Lindberg or Gauthier track this season.

Alan Smith
29 days ago
Reply to  Dave Molinari

You didn’t make one point concerning the weak defense he has to play behind!

Wasnt
29 days ago

If the Pens can sign him for a bargain now go for it. Reason being if Pens make the Playoffs and he does well he’s definitely going to want some serious change, so do it now.

normbobjr@atlanticbb.net

Agree with the last part of the article. An extension now is betting on a pair of 2s. I would extend him 1 year at $4.5m. If this year proves he is the man, then consider a realistic contract. If he takes his chances and declines, the market may not support him or if he plays good, he wins, or the Pens win with a good contract for him.

Pens' Igloo
Pens' Igloo
29 days ago

There’s certainly a case to be made either way, but to me it depends on what what Jarry’s current ask is. If Jarry’s current asking price is ~$5M AAV, then I’d consider signing him now. That’s what Kuemper and Campbell just signed for, and I’d put him in their class. But if Jarry is asking for $6M or more, then the Pens have to let the season play out. I’m not committing that much coin to a guy unless he shows he can get it done in the post-season.

Last edited 29 days ago by Pens' Igloo
Alan Smith
29 days ago

Jarry plays behind the worst defense in the NHL! No Orpik, no Ulf, no Murphy, no Darius no Cece and 10 other former Pen defense men playing in the playoffs for other teams. No goalie can win it all when they have no defense! Every team in the NHL needs a goalie and a knock down defense man or three!

Rick
Rick
28 days ago
Reply to  Alan Smith

I will agree with you that this team’s defense is a bunch of stick waving, uni-dimensional, clones of one another, incapable of playing hard nose hockey in their own end. Hopefully Petry will put a little sand on the back-end. That is why I had my fingers crossed that Hextall would have drafted Maverick Lamoureux (He was still available).

However, I still am not going white-wash Jarry’s playoff performances. For me, he still needs to exorcise his bad play-off performances.

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
29 days ago

Not sure what he is looking for, but I wouldnt go beyond 3 years cause you def not sure about him in the post season.

Rick
Rick
28 days ago

No to rushing into a contract extension. Why? Not just because of Jarry’s weak playoff experience and history, but because there are a couple of kids that could be far better in the near future. It is not just a question of evaluating Jarry, but evaluating all the pieces in the puzzle. There is no need to hastily rush into committing long term, big money to a guy when you may be able to get equal or better performance for a lower price; wait and see how Blomqvist, Lindberg, and Gauthier are tracking. Also, consider how mercurial a goalies fortunes… Read more »

Wasnt
28 days ago
Reply to  Rick

Rick, good points and that’s what Hex should bring up so the Pens won’t pay a big price tag now… If the they wait and Jarry has a half decent playoff run ( if they go )then Jarrys agent is going to see nothing but $$$$$ for Jarry…it’s a good discussion

moe
moe
28 days ago

Jarry is deserving of a new contract. If he can be signed for 3 years at 4.25m to 4.5m per, definitely should be done. A long 5 yrs at top rate would be foolish since he has not shown playoff success to command it.

Rob
Rob
28 days ago

I don’t think signing him to an 8 year deal would be prudent, but if they can extend him for 2-3 years right now that would be a good idea because none of their prospects will be ready before then. Also, there are no better FA goaltenders availabe after this season.

ShinnstonPen
ShinnstonPen
27 days ago

A highly capable qoaltender age 30 and under with a reasonable salary cap figure will always be a valuable commodity. Even those who struggle in the playoffs. Sign Jarry now, assuming the numbers are favorable for the franchise long term. Offer a fair contract for 4 to 7 seasons based on his current value and avoid the potential for having him earn millions $$$ more next June. The tradeoff for Jarry to potentially accept less now than he could demand after a successful run in the playoffs should be obvious. He gets security in the event he bombs in another… Read more »