Molinari: Jarry Can — and Must — Be Better. Soon.
Ten players currently on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ major-league roster have contracts that expire in a few months, which means there are a lot of guys on salary drives.
One of them is Jason Zucker, whose energy, effort and production in 2022-23 is causing his value to rise faster than interest rates. And which should yield a contract, whether it’s with the Penguins or elsewhere, so rich that his current $5.5 million salary barely would be enough to cover the taxes on it.
Tristan Jarry’s deal. which carries a $3.5 million salary-cap hit, is expiring soon, too.
But unlike Zucker, his salary drive is stuck in neutral.
Or maybe going in reverse.
He gave up four goals on seven shots in the first period of the Penguins’ 6-4 loss to Montreal Tuesday and was pulled for the second time in his past four starts.
Now, it would be neither fair nor accurate to assign responsibility for that defeat solely to Jarry — there was plenty of blame to go around — but it’s not unreasonable for a team to count on its go-to goaltender to come through with a mistake-erasing save a few times a game.
Of course, when a guy only stops three shots, chances are that few, if any, will fit that description.
“Ordinary” is a charitable way to characterize the way Jarry has played most of the time since returning from his second extended absence, both injury-related, of the season.
He has made eight starts during that time, and been replaced by Casey DeSmith in three of them.
The first was against Edmonton, which has the NHL’s most prolific offense and the speed and skill to dissect almost any opponent, but the past two were against teams — Columbus and Montreal — that don’t score very much, or win very often.
Nonetheless, the Blue Jackets and Canadiens combined to generate eight goals on 19 shots against Jarry. The Penguins were able to come back against Columbus and win in overtime, but ended up donating two points to the Canadiens.
Teams with a tenuous hold on a playoff berth can’t afford to give away points to an opponent that, in every conceivable way, should be overmatched, but that’s precisely what the Pittsburgh Penguins did against Montreal.
And while that’s not all on Jarry, he certainly played a prominent role in that disappointing and costly outcome.
And it hardly was the first time this season.
Although you have a better chance of getting an NHL player to criticize a beloved grandmother than one of his club’s goaltenders, Jarry’s teammates are to be forgiven if their confidence in him is at least a little shaken.
For the season, his goals-against average (2.95) ranks 39th among NHL goalies who have made it into 10 or more games, while his .910 save percentage is 29th.
What’s more, while Jarry’s ability to handle and pass the puck is one of his greatest assets, he’s made an uncharacteristic number of ill-considered plays with it this season. To wit, against the New York Rangers Sunday, he tried to clear the puck up the middle of the ice, leading directly to a turnover and a dangerous scoring chance for New York.
It’s important to note that Jarry, like his team, generally performed very well in the Rangers game.
He turned aside 27 of 29 shots, and provided tangible evidence of the level he is capable of reaching.
He just hasn’t done that often enough, especially lately.
How Jarry will be able to monetize unrestricted free agency after this season likely hinges on how he plays in whatever remains of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season.
Jarry still has to escape the specter of his late-series breakdown in the Penguins’ opening-round playoff matchup with the New York Islanders two years ago.
Of course, that entails doing some good work during the postseason, and he won’t get the opportunity to try this spring if the Penguins don’t qualify.
And getting in will be a whole lot tougher — if not impossible — for them if Jarry doesn’t begin to consistently perform to his potential.
Jarry’s performance in the Columbus and Montreal games are unacceptable. He got hung out to dry on some of the goals while others were stoppable. This team will go nowhere without both goalies playing their best. Even then, it will be a tough task to get out of the 1st round.
high time pens fans consider the age on this roster its easy to pile on the goalie but last night how many times did we see letang turn the puch over leading to scoring chances? maybe that explains why he is a -10 for the year and malkin -7? fleury, murray, now its jarry being the fallguy notice a pattern here? the pens can’t keep the puck out of their end they will be outscored it doesn’t matter if they had brodeur in his prime he would be fishing pucks out. Add to that we saw 2 stupid penalties from… Read more »
Well said and nothing that I would disagree on
Good on you for calling out “the core” for turnovers, high risk passing, and poor play that happens in every game. After all of these years, we still have to watch the same mistakes over and over. “Playing the right way” hasn’t sunk in yet but should have years ago. Crosby finally figured out not to make no-look cross-ice passes as much and has limited his turnovers, but the other two haven’t.
Yea it has really sucked watching this horrible core bring three Stanley cups to Pittsburgh. And yea there old now so when we have goal tending losing games. Again lets blame it on the teams scoring leaders
You’re right, those cups absolve them of all wrong doing. Crosby’s disinterest in backchecking, Malkin’s turnovers, and Letang’s sloppy play on both ends don’t matter in 2023, because, well, 2009, 2016, and 2017. Super well thought out position to take. I heard Gretzky murdered a family of kittens, molested a goat, and used bunch of disabled people for target practice. All is forgiven though, because 83-88′ obviously. Am I doing this right?
Let’s not forget that Joseph got beat on a stretch pass then turned the wrong way on the game-winner. #POd
Our goalies got beat by any average goalie. Look at what Montembault stopped. He was peppered with 42 shots, and 23 of those were high danger scoring chances. How many high danger scoring chances for the Habs? Well, wouldn’t you know it? It was 6. Takeaways were 15 to 7 in our favor, while the giveaways were 9 on our part and 6 by the Habs. I would like to understand what you’re talking about, but I struggle. If you haven’t watched the game, try explaining the stats, especially the high danger scoring chances. Oh, I know. This team is… Read more »
The truth is our goalie play has been subpar. But that’s only part of the truth. It’s been subpar behind poor D zone play. When you ice a roster that doesn’t backcheck, can’t clear the puck, commits tons of turnovers at the worst possible times, and allows opposing players to set up an airbnb in the crease, it’s unfair to lay the bulk of the blame on the G. There are 2 or 3 guys in the entire league that can carry a poor defensive team. Jarry is a solid G, with high upside, but he is not one of… Read more »
Fleury was the fall guy because the fanbase is highly reactionary and largely uneducated.
Murray deserve the criticism after a while it became apparent he was a mediocre goalie at best. Jarry rarely gets it, but he has played bad this year. There is no way around it.
POJ being young didnt see to stop him from getting absolutely humiliated on that 5th goal.
Been saying this over and over, even great goalies get scored on when you hand the puck to the other team 6 inches from the net. Letang is probably the most egregious example of this. Used to be he could cover up with elite skating. Not the case anymore. But turnovers don’t tell the whole story. We also have 0 ability to clear the crease, and we play absolutely abysmal team D. Things you’re taught in pee-wee, like not following the puck below the goal line, or playing the man and not the puck, seem to be foreign concepts to… Read more »
Deja vu strikes again! The “fans” are headhunting underperforming players. On top of that the annual injury bug is back with a vengeance. Players, especially defensemen are dropping like flies. The fire Hextall chants will be fueled by the deadline moves, 2 of the 3 players acquired are hurt and adding nothing to the mix. Fans are clamoring for Cster, Dumoulin, and CDS’ heads. Problem is they aren’t alone for blame.
Wild out-of-the-box thought: Call up Gauthier and let him start one game. Can’t be any worse than Jarry. See what he brings. With a rookie in G, teams tend to tighten up the D and be more conscientious…even the Pens. Wouldn’t be the first time an NHL team went to a rookie in G.
Boy you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m a WBS season tix holder and Gauthier is far inferior to Jarry. He is no where close to being ready for NHL action. Not entirely his fault, as he’s playing on a last place roster, but no one would benefit from him being called up. Always shudder when fans think just because a guy in the A is the “next in line” that means he will be a suitable candidate at the NHL level. It’s just not the case. In fact, I’d argue D’Orio is a better goalie and he isn’t on Jarry… Read more »
You are asking Jarry to be great when the defense last night was not there! The open ended offensive skating left them vulnerable the entire time! Habs had the 3 man advantages throughout! Not Jarry it is the defense! Missing some key D men and Bonino as well! Great scoring game to watch but the outcome ruined it!
Trish Jarry, your plane is ready to depart . . . #AllStar
Unless Hextall can pry Gibson away from anaheim somehow, the penguins are screwed after this season. None of the minor league goaltenders are going to be ready. Jarry is our only hope. He MUST turn it around and quick. Besides that, it would also help if everyone else didn’t play with their heads up their rears and actually try defense.
Looks like it’s going to be a long off-season, no playoffs, losing Zucker, and seeing Mario’s management choices rightly canned by the Boston owners.
Ticket sales fall off, new TV plans, and little fresh talent available.
Hire Barry Trotz to replace Sully and go from there.
You are Mr. Brightside. As of right now, they are in the playoffs.
Barry Trotz is the new GM of Nashville predators! So hes not an available candidate.
Yes, Jarry “Must” get better. The more important part of the headline is “Can,” which begs the question “How.” That is the real story.