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Penguins CounterPoint: Show Jarry the Money … Now

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Tristan Jarry, NHL trade rumors

The NHL GMs are playing an overspending game and playing it against each other. After a moment of sanity, while dealing with the flat salary caps during the pandemic, GMs are again shoveling money at free agents like feeding coal into the overheating furnace of a runaway locomotive. The Pittsburgh Penguins and GM Ron Hextall earned a few lower AAVs with additional years but still slightly overspent like too many other teams across the league.

While the league deals with the fallout of too many teams at or over the cap and too few teams with enough money or interest to absorb the remainder, the Penguins have one decision looming.

Next summer, Penguins starting goalie Tristan Jarry will be an unrestricted free agent. He would be the cream of the netminder crop. Otherwise, tandem goalies like Frederick Andersen, Antti Raanta, and Semyon Varlamov and mid-30s goalies past their prime like Jonathan Quick will be UFAs. So, too will Alex Nedeljkovic, who has underwhelmed to this point of his career.

Jarry would be well sought after.

Revered colleague Dave Molinari weighed in on the Penguins possibly paying Tristan Jarry before the season starts rather than waiting until next summer.

Pay Tristan Jarry?

Counterpoint. Dave believes it may be prudent to let Jarry prove himself in a playoff series before splashing the cash. Setting aside the facts and figures of Jarry’s playoff struggles against the New York Islanders because they were ugly, count this keyboard firmly in favor of paying Jarry now.

As Mr. Molinari (that’s what we call him around the office) noted, Jarry is 2-6, with a 3.00 goals-against average and .891 save percentage in postseason play.

That’s not very good.

Here are the arguments for it. Next summer, Jarry will be THE goalie on the free agent market. It will also be one year until the salary cap spike. And, count me in the camp that believes playoff goaltending success or failure is mental. See also: Marc-Andre Fleury.

Jarry was very good in Game 4 against Montreal in the 2020 bubble. His team wasn’t, but Jarry was. Also, recall PHN’s exclusive reporting about Jarry fighting for “his net” before Game 6 and then getting it in Game 7. He had to convince the coaches he could play. He fought for his place on the big stage. A weak-willed player doesn’t do that, nor does a player unsure if he’s the best option.

I have no doubts about Jarry in the future. Certainly not the regular season in which he’s a two-time All-Star, and not in the playoffs where a little bit of luck and a bit of health would go a long way.

Six years, $36 million? Ok.

While the cost might seem steep today, and it would represent a raise of about $2.5 million annually, the salary cap is going up “significantly” after the 2023-24 season, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

Further, that means the cost for goalies is not going down. Nor will it tread water.

Just imagine the Penguins building a contending team but missing a goalie in the final years of Crosby-Malkin-Letang. Ask the 2022 Edmonton Oilers how it felt to get so close, but be so far because they lacked adequate goaltending.

Now, there is the matter of Joel Blomqvist, whom PHN recently named the top Penguins prospect. It’s likely a couple of years before Blomgqvist is at full speed, but there’s no guarantee he is an NHL No. 1 goalie. There’s no guarantee he’ll be better than Jarry, either.

In 2017, the Penguins had great offers for Matt Murray before they moved Marc-Andre Fleury after the season (giving Vegas a second-round pick to take Fleury in the expansion draft). Perhaps Penguins GM Ron Hextall will treat the decision differently. Or not. However, without a coming expansion draft, Hextall’s best-case scenario is to have a choice between two trade chips.

Agree or not with the Penguins’ offseason plan, they brought everyone back. Hextall didn’t re-sign players for an extended farewell tour. If there is even a glimmer of sunlight peaking beneath the closing championship window, a goalie is not important but absolutely essential.

Sure, the Penguins can wait and see. See how Jarry performs in the 2023 playoffs, which seem like a good bet the Penguins will make.

See if Jarry excels or flatlines.

That’s a bet. If Jarry does well, the prices go up. If he doesn’t do well, the price … stays the same. For example, Darcy Kuemper provided perhaps the softest goaltending performance of a Stanley Cup-winning goalie since Antti Niemi backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks more than a decade ago.

Kuemper, 32, signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract with the Washington Capitals this summer.

The price for Jarry won’t go below the $5.25 million AAV. So, why not sign it now? Today’s salary pinch is tomorrow’s bargain, and the Pittsburgh Penguins got a few bargains this summer in exchange for term.

A dollar saved is a dollar spent elsewhere.

So, a 27-year-old goalie hitting his prime who started 58 games last season with a  .919 save percentage has made two All-Star games and hasn’t yet achieved his fullest potential–yep, show Jarry the money.

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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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Rob
Rob
26 days ago

I feel it doesnt have to be one extreme or the other. Give him a smaller extension. 6 years is too long but 2 or 3 will be perfect if he doesn’t end up being the guy. It will allow the penguins to at least have a solid goaltender in net and their prospects to develop more. Jarry has proven that he can be solid for at least the regular season. That is more than Murray could say when the penguins committed to him over Fleury. Jarry needs another shot at the post season. One bad playoff series doesn’t define… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Robert Shoemaker
Big B
Big B
25 days ago
Reply to  Rob

He does not and will not have to accept a small extension,that is not how the market works.

Rob
Rob
25 days ago
Reply to  Big B

He doesn’t have to, but they should try, right?

Vince Gori
Vince Gori
26 days ago

I sat make a decision on Jarry by New Years. See how he is performing and decide by then. He will have value and can be moved. There are options out there. I still caution, however, if the Cap does jump next season it is important not to overspend since I feel even mediocre players will get a bump in pay. Best to get the best bang for your buck, maybe locking Jarry in sooner rather than later is the right call. They pay GM’s to make the right moves, not fans.

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Dean
Dean
26 days ago

I agree with the long term and would go as high as $7M. He is young for a goalie and is proven in the regular season.

This year’s playoff was played on a broken foot and the year before he had good games, but everyone remembers 1 bad pass. He had no backup goalie that year; even Fleury and Murray split some games in the other championships.

Jeff Young
Jeff Young
26 days ago

Having proven zero in the playoffs, I wouldn’t go higher than $6M per but absolutely no way for six years. That’s Binnington money without the results. 3-4×5.25 seems right. First, stay healthy. Next, don’t choke.

Rich Filardi
Rich Filardi
25 days ago

I wouldnt go past 3 years and reevaluate in 2. Solid regular, playoffs still a question mark for me.

Big B
Big B
25 days ago
Reply to  Rich Filardi

Then you lose him with no replacement.

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[…] Our lads in the Burgh are battling it out on whether the Pittsburgh Penguins should extend goalie Tristan Jarry or let him play out his walk […]

Alexander Olsen
Alexander Olsen
25 days ago

No long contract. No. Leave it alone

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Paul
Paul
25 days ago

Bad idea to act now, especially at the only deep position in the system. Better to wait a half season to see if Bloomgqvist is still on the fast track to the NHL as many scouts predict. If so and the team is not a legit contender as expected, Jarry could be moved before the deadline and an inexpensive bridge veteran signed in the off-season. Not good business to have an overpaid back-up with zero history of postseason success on a longterm deal.

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Pens' Igloo
Pens' Igloo
23 days ago

It all depends what Jarry is asking for in an extension (which none of us knows). If he’s asking for similar money to what Campbell and Kuemper just got (i.e. $5-5.25M AAV), then sure, you sign him. That’s the going rate for a comparable goalie right now. But if he’s asking for $6M+ AAV on a long-term contract, then you hold off and make him earn it. The whole point in signing Jarry to an extension a year out is if it’s projected to be a slight discount. That’s the whole point: removing risk for the player (either via injury… Read more »

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[…] The Penguins have a decision looming concerning Jarry as he is about to enter the final year of his current contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and there will be a lot of teams interested in him. Should the Penguins just renew his contract now, or wait for him to prove himself? Next season will likely be a breakout year for Jarry, and Pittsburgh would be wise to lock him up right now. […]

trackback

[…] The Penguins have a decision looming concerning Jarry as he is about to enter the final year of his current contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and there will be a lot of teams interested in him. Should the Penguins just renew his contract now, or wait for him to prove himself? Next season will likely be a breakout year for Jarry, and Pittsburgh would be wise to lock him up right now. […]

trackback

[…] The Penguins have a decision looming concerning Jarry as he is about to enter the final year of his current contract. He will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and there will be a lot of teams interested in him. Should the Penguins just renew his contract now, or wait for him to prove himself? Next season will likely be a breakout year for Jarry, and Pittsburgh would be wise to lock him up right now. […]