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Kingerski: It’s Time to Put Tristan Jarry in the Vezina Conversation

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Tristan Jarry

Tristan Jarry earned his second All-Star appearance in three years and technically his second consecutive appearance since there wasn’t a 2021 NHL All-Star Game. Until his team collapsed in front of him on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings, 6-2, Jarry led the league with a 1.91 GAA.

He was third in the league with a .932 save percentage, and anyone who watched Jarry keep the LA Kings at bay had to be impressed. The score could have reached double digits.

Two All-Star Games were deserved, but it’s time to up the talk.

It’s time to put Tristan Jarry in the Vezina Trophy conversation.

Sure, Nikita Kucherov already has his favorite candidate. After Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup last season, he colorfully let his feelings known about Marc-Andre Fleury winning the trophy instead of his teammate, Andrei Vasilevskiy.

“No. 1 bullsh*t” was his exact quote while consuming Bud Lights by the sixer during Tampa Bay’s Stanley Cup victory press conferences.

Vasilevskiy is again a leading contender,, and the odds on favorite as voters may feel pressure to make good to one of the best goalies in the world. And there are a few more…

Jack Campbell has played behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and posted ridiculous numbers (.935 save percentage, 2.02 GAA).

New York Rangers Igor Shesterkin has been the second-coming of a younger Henrik Lundqvist. He’s now the NHL leader in GAA (1.99) and save percentage (.939).

After the Penguins buckled in LA, Jarry’s numbers “ballooned” to 2.05 GAA (3rd, NHL), .929 (3rd NHL), and 18 wins (T-3rd, NHL). So, a goalie making his second-consecutive All-Star Game appearance, whose stats led or ranks top three in the major categories.

Tell me again why he’s not in the Vezina Trophy conversation?

Perception = Reality

“Without a doubt. Yeah, I thought Tristan. was terrific,” Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said after the Penguins 6-2 loss to the Kings on Thursday.

How often does a coach praise a goalie after a 6-2 loss?

But the elephant in the room is the playoff performance. Jarry finished 2020-21 with a .934 save percentage and 2.00 GAA in his final 20 games. The Penguins marched to the top of the Eastern Division and the Penguins felt they had a chance–a real chance–to do damage in the playoffs.

Instead, they were home after six games and despite the “team game” the biggest battle the Penguins lost was the goalie battle. Jarry allowed four or more goals in four of six games and stopped less than .900 in the last four games of the series. There was also the Game 5 giveaway in overtime which cost the Penguins a game the dominated.

Jarry dealt with that loss all summer.

Rumors swirled that new Penguins GM Ron Hextall and Brian Burke would make a goalie trade, but Burke dumped the last bit of ice water on the Pittsburgh Penguins trade talk.

“Did he have a great playoff last summer? No, he did not,” Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke said on the eve of the regular season in October. “That is not uncommon for young players. I can give you a list of goaltenders that started off with poor first and second times out. We believe in Tristan Jarry, and we believe he will be fine.”

The ridiculous run to end last season was washed away and hung over the start of this season.

Even as Jarry carried the Penguins through extraordinary roster adversity, it was hard to shake the playoff meltdown.

It’s time to let it go. It’s time perception caught up to reality.

Digging into advanced goalie metrics on NaturalStatTrick.com, Jarry is fourth in Goals-Saved-Above-Average (GSAA) at 12.98. He’s behind only Campbell, Juuse Saros, and Shesterkin. Jarry is also in third place behind John Gibson and Shesterkin with a .934 save percentage while shorthanded.

A distant fourth place is Saros at .915.

Vasilevskiy is having a great year. He leads the league in wins (21) and has a .924 save percentage. Shesterkin is stopping everything for the Rangers, but we’ll see how the newly minted Rangers team handles the ramped up pressure of the stretch run. The Nashville Predators ace, Saros is also among the league leaders and deserves the attention he’s getting.

But so does Jarry, who has carried a decimated roster to within a few five of the top of the Metro Division lead. Only three goalies have faced more high-danger scoring chances (Hellebuyck, Nedeljkovic, and Bobrovsky), which speaks to the nature of the Penguins roster and blue line. Every team has played shorthanded recently due to COVID, but the Penguins played without most of their top six forwards.

Yet the Pittsburgh Penguins kept winning. Evgeni Malkin’s return has garnered headlines and soon the Penguins will be fully healthy, but they have a chance to finish among the top three in the Metro and are starting to believe they have what it takes to be more than a regular season team.

That’s on Jarry, and my colleagues around the league should take note. It’s time to insert Tristan Jarry into the Vezina Trophy conversation.

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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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[…] Pittsburgh: Dan Kingerski writes that it’s time to put Tristan Jarry’s name in the Vezina Conversation.  […]

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[…] Should Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry be part of the Vezina Trophy (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

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[…] Should Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry be part of the Vezina Trophy (Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

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[…] It is time to put Tristan Jarry in the Vezina Trophy conversation writes Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey […]

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[…] Tristan Jarry has performed the third-most video games of NHL goalies (33), and a break doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. […]

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