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Kingerski: Avoid the Drama, Penguins Must Sign Jarry to New Contract

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Tristan Jarry

Some fans still hold the 2021 playoffs against Tristan Jarry. The Pittsburgh Penguins outplayed the New York Islanders, but untimely soft goals and a ghastly turnover in Game 5 sealed the Penguins’ fate. Fortunately for the Penguins, management was not part of the crowd, which did not forgive, and Jarry was again an NHL All-Star last season.

He was a primary reason the Penguins survived injury woes that rivaled the worst in the league and sunk a few teams’ seasons. Jarry earned the mid-season All-Star honor with a save percentage over .930, a goals-against-average that bubbled below 2.00. He finished at .919 and 2.42.

Most importantly, Jarry was unbeatable when the Penguins needed him. Unlike his predecessor, Matt Murray, Jarry did not have a quick rise to the NHL. The organization forced him to earn each opportunity, and the fourth-round pick Murray zoomed past the 2013 second-rounder, Jarry.

Tristan Jarry, 27, will also be a free agent next summer and just one of two starting netminders under 34 years old who will be a UFA. Alex Nedeljkovic is the other potential UFA closer to his draft day than AARP.

Jonathan Quick will be 37, Semyon Varlamov will be 35, and Frederick Anderson will be 34. That’s next summer’s UFA class. No, it will not be a bumper crop for anything but stopgaps and goalies shuffling off to retirement.

The price for Jarry is already climbing.

The Penguins’ salary cap picture is flush with cash for 2023-24. The Penguins have $62.5 million committed to 16 players for 2023-24. That means the team will have A LOT of cap room.

After GM Ron Hextall bet heavily on the present to get Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin under contract and under market value, the team cannot afford to sacrifice the present with spotty goaltending or a goalie who isn’t yet ready.

Joel Blomqvist and Filip Lindberg would be the two goalies who could eventually supplant Jarry, though that’s a tall order. Jarry is well above average in most measurable statistics.

Last season, Jarry had a GSAA (goals saved above average) of 21.1, which ranked seventh in the NHL. That put him just ahead of the presumed best goalie in the league, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and well ahead of other goaltending luminaries such as Sergei Bobrovsky and Connor Hellebuyck. Jarry was just behind Frederick Andersen and Juuso Saros in the GSAA category.

Now, about the playoffs…

As PHN reported during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Round One loss to the New York Rangers, Jarry was adamant that he play. The goalie not only played Game 7 with an injured foot fully wrapped in ice after the game, but sources close to Jarry told us the goalie had to push for the start.

He let the coaches know that was his net, and he wanted it.

That sort of attitude and drive goes a long way with teammates. It was a featured selling point of Murray.

Last summer, Andersen, 32, signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes after absorbing a bit too much blame for yet another Toronto Maple Leafs Round One collapse.

Saros is a much better comparison. Last summer, the goalie (then 26 years old) signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Nashville Predators.

Two years ago, John Gibson (then 27) signed an eight-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks, sporting a $6.4 million AAV. Matt Murray also got just north of $6 million for four years at 27 years old.

That’s about the going rate for Jarry, plus inflation. Since the NHL salary cap is going up, and so too are housing prices, gas prices, food prices, cost of cars, and everything else, Jarry figures to be in the $6-7 million range over five to seven years.

Do it.

Jarry is settled as a pro. His longer road to the NHL proved more beneficial to creating a solid goalie than the highway that Matt Murray rode to Stanley Cups. After a few years toiling with the WBS Penguins, Jarry has two seasons as an unquestioned starter, a third if including the season he surpassed Murray, two All-Star Games, two campaigns with top-10 Vezina votes (7th in 2020 and 2022), and the trust of his teammates.

The Penguins cannot do better. So, why try?

The salary cap for 2023-24 will go up, too, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hextall even more room to work. The worst thing that could happen is a big cap hike, and a few teams find themselves with unexpected money to spend and a need in the net.

And, should Blomqvist or Lindberg elbow past Jarry, as Murray did to Fleury and Jarry did to Murray, then Hextall will have a shiny trade chip in high demand.

It’s a win-win for the Penguins. They cannot let Jarry even get a whiff of free agency. While the fountain pen still has some ink and the conference room is clean from a handful of other re-signings, Hextall should put a good offer before Tristan Jarry and lock him up, too.

It’s not like the Penguins can waste any of the next few years with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang while they groom another goalie or settle for UFA scraps.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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hockeyfan68
hockeyfan68
9 days ago

Couldn’t agree more, good article. When soft goal Murray was in net I got nervous with every shot, sorry but I never thought he was or is a number one tender, with Jarry no such nerves. Just wish him or Casey were healthy for last playoff, but that’s the past and Jarry is the future lock him down!!

Ethan
8 days ago
Reply to  hockeyfan68

Geeze i felt confident the penguins were gonna win those 2 cups with him between the pipes. Guess we were watching 2 different teams or you have just fallen prey to the revisionist shortterm which passes for history these days.

hockeyfan68
hockeyfan68
8 days ago
Reply to  Ethan

Sorry you think I’m rewriting history, but Murray has great kick saves, very poor glove side and maybe, maybe average blocker side. Those two playoff years he was a new commodity and people didn’t know to shoot high yet. Once that was discovered he never won another playoff series. So think what you like but the facts are there. His save % has gone down every year but one since he was a starting goaltender.

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
7 days ago
Reply to  Ethan

Playoff Murray was great for the b2b! And for plenty of regular season games. BUT I the last two years also had me a bit nervous watching him as OP mentions. He did not seem the same between the pipes. Turn up the anxiety, ey.

Logan
Logan
8 days ago

Get this guy locked up he is in his prime.

Paul
Paul
7 days ago
Reply to  Logan

Yeah, lock him up when the postseason starts and throw away the key . . .

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
7 days ago
Reply to  Paul

might wanna Check this guy’s basement..

Alex
Alex
8 days ago

Sir , he played, he was healthy enough to go. He lost the game (along with his teammates). He didn’t get it done. He probably shouldn’t have been the starter even if he was healthy. Do you remember Desmith was outplaying him down the stretch? Neither side should want to get a deal done. He probably wants to prove himself in the playoffs and then get paid. The penguins should wait till he does that then pay him. If he doesn’t next year move on.

Paul
Paul
8 days ago

You can’t pass up a chance to lock up one of the great money goalies of his era. Eight years, $88 mill would be a win-win for both sides. #NoneBetter

Last edited 8 days ago by Paul
maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
7 days ago
Reply to  Paul

HAHAHAA

Troy
Troy
8 days ago

I agree that it’s time to sign Jarry long term, or if possible trade Jarry, Zucker, and Freidman to Anaheim for Gibson. If you do end up extending Jarry, try a 4yr/$24 mil contract….

Bob
Bob
8 days ago

Malkin under market value? Seeing he played only half of the last 3 seasons and collected his full salary for it? This new contract suits him and should be glad he was offered this much plus an extra year to collect it? I assume the No trade clause is in there as well unfortunately which the Pens will pay for doing this.

Ethan
8 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Hey bob. It is not like he got hurt riding a unicycle naked. He got hurt playing hockey. Should SId give back money because of concussions. Come on. Now Big Ben riding around on a motorcycle without a helmet days after inking a 100 million. Maybe

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
8 days ago
Reply to  Ethan

Malkin haters gonna hate. He will prove them all wrong. Just wait

Bob
Bob
8 days ago

Yeah like when every time he came back from an injury he said he’s feeling good and positive he’s going to be his old self he went back on the shelf again.

Bob
Bob
8 days ago
Reply to  Ethan

He’s a risk and hets hurt too much. They were doing fine without him in the line-up.

Bob
Bob
8 days ago
Reply to  Ethan

Yeah but Sid is worth his weight in gold. His heart his smarts and point production is the difference between him and Malkin

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
8 days ago
Reply to  Bob

The covid shortened seasons all the players didn’t play all the games. He came back from major knee surgery and put up a point per game.

Bob
Bob
8 days ago

Yeah but what about the playoffs? Rodriguez who’s not on the team anymore and is a lot cheaper had only one point less than Malkin in the Ranger playoff series. He actually looked better than Malkin especially that last game. Also When Crosby was out in the series he didn’t seem to step it up like he used too.

Bob
Bob
8 days ago
Reply to  Bob

How can you post a negative when you just heard the facts?

Phil
Phil
7 days ago
Reply to  Bob

That’s not true malkin had 3 goals and 6 points. Against the NYR scoring the game winning goal in game 1. And game 5 sid was out. He scored a big 2nd period goal to tie the game. So he did step up. Those are the facts. Not your opinion that he didn’t “seem” to step up. He did step up. So trying to blame that series on him is just ridiculous. And not factual.

Last edited 7 days ago by Phil
Mary Lurwick
Mary Lurwick
8 days ago

Hextall will extend him before the season starts. Zucker’s contract comes off the books after this season so the money will be there next season.

Rick
Rick
8 days ago

Ah NO, There can be no rush to get Jarry to sign an extension, no pressure and definitely not to a long term contract. Haven’t we learned our lessons with handing money out to players (Marino and Pettersson) before they proved they are worth it? In the 8 Playoff games Jarry has played he has a Sv% of 0.891. Maybe last season wasn’t his fault with the injury and all, but he still hasn’t proved he can play and win in the playoffs.The black and gold doesn’t need their own version of Sergei Bobrovsky and that is a real risk… Read more »

Paul
Paul
7 days ago

I’ve got Jarry as a second-ballot Hall of Famer right now, C’mon, Hexy, pay the man!

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