After bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL since the 2016-17 season, it appears that Tristan Jarry has finally found his groove in between the pipes for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The 24-year-old Surrey, BC native has caught fire this season, as he has overtaken Matt Murray as the starting goalie for the Penguins, at least for the time being. Jarry has a record of 10-5, and his 1.85 GAA and .940 SV% are tops in the league. His three shutouts are tied for the lead as well.
It’s well known in hockey circles that goalies take longer to develop, but in Jarry’s case, his transformation from borderline AHL/NHL goalie to NHL starter has occurred quicker than his performance in previous seasons would suggest. It’s clear that he is NHL calibre, but at the same time, 15 games is a small sample size.
During Jarry’s first two seasons with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2015-16 and 2016-17), Marc-Andre Fleury was still playing for Pittsburgh. This allowed him to get some significant playing time in the minors and hone his skills.
On the other hand, if Fleury hadn’t been with the Penguins, then one of the goalie spots would have been up for grabs and Jarry might have been pushed into the NHL sooner, which could have stunted his development.
Before this campaign, Jarry had played parts of three seasons in the NHL. In terms of career averages, he has a 2.49 GAA and a .918 SV%, which are below his numbers this year, but still respectable. During parts of four seasons in the AHL for the Penguins, he had save percentages ranging from .901 to .925.
Recently there were members of the media who suggested that teams looking to bolster their backup goaltending should inquire about Jarry’s services. Still, at this point, Penguins’ management would be fools to consider unloading their valuable commodity who has an inexpensive cap hit ($675,000). He is an RFA after this season, so it would be wise for their organization to get him signed for the foreseeable future.
If Jarry continues to perform at a high level for the rest of the season, then the Penguins will be in a position to succeed.
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