Player: Tristan Jarry
Born: April 29, 1995 (25 years old)
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 194 pounds
Birthplace: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Draft: 2013 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2nd round, 44th overall
2019-20 Statistics: 33 games played, 20-12-1, 3 shutouts, 2.43 GAA, .921 SV%
Contract Status: This season marked the second and final year of a two-year contract Jarry signed back in the summer of 2018. That deal paid Jarry a $700,000 salary but only counted for $625,000 against the salary cap. Jarry will be a restricted free agent this offseason and will need a new contract if the Penguins plan to keep him in Pittsburgh.
Jarry only appeared in two games during the 2018-19 season, and in turn, was not included in our end of season player reports.
Regular Season History & 2019-20 Stats
After a hard fought training camp battle with Casey DeSmith, Jarry entered the 2019-20 season as the backup to Matt Murray. By Thanksgiving, Jarry was the de facto No. 1 as Murray struggled out of the gate and Mike Sullivan turned to Jarry as a solution. The decision paid off in a big way as Jarry became one of the best goaltenders in the league, earning his first All-Star nod in the process. Jarry also set the Penguins franchise record shutout streak in December.
Once the calendar flipped to 2020, Jarry remained the man in goal but his strong play did not carry over. His save percentage dropped from .947 to .906 from December to January and resulted in Murray seeing more action once February rolled around. Whether or not Jarry was playing above his head in the early part of the season remains to be seen, but overall it was hard to argue with the results he was giving the Penguins when they needed it most.
Advanced stats work a little different for goaltenders than they do for the typical skater, with much of the focus being on special teams save percentages and how they perform in hugh danger situations. Here’s a look at how Jarry performed in those situations this season.
Powerplay SV%: .845
Shorthanded SV%: .952
High Danger SV%: .802
High Dangers SA/60: 7.55
Even though Jarry’s play trailed off in the second half of the season, there is plenty of blue in the above graph to feel good about how he performed from an overall perspective. He will likely need to improve his high danger play going forward, but he overperformed his contract value by a significant amount.
Jarry only saw action twice during the Penguins short stint in the Toronto bubble, with one of those times coming in the second half of their exhibition game with the Flyers. Though he was on the bench most of the time, Jarry did perform well when on the ice. His only goal allowed in the exhibition was in overtime while the teams were playing 3-on-3.
With the Penguins down 2-1 to the Canadiens in their qualifying round series, Mike Sullivan called on Jarry to start Game 4. It was an uninspiring performance from the Penguins except for Jarry who held the fort as long as he could before the Canadiens broke through and eliminated the Penguins. It was an embarrassing exit for the Penguins, but felt like the moment when Jarry established himself as the Penguins goaltender going forward.
Once Jarry took over as the starter in mid-November, he put together what was easily the best stretch of hockey in his short career to this point. In December alone, Jarry led the NHL in wins, shutouts, and GAA while finishing second in SV%. This was in the same timeframe win which he set the Penguins franchise shutout record and eventually led to his first All-Star selection.
Once 2020 arrived, Jarry remained the starter in January but his play regressed in the new year to the point that Murray ended up grabbing more of the starts in February. In his single March start against the Carolina Hurricanes, Jarry surrendered six goals on 36 shots.
Get that puck outta here!— #StanleyCup Playoffs on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) December 5, 2019
-Tristan Jarry pic.twitter.com/WpGYfkzwjr
Coming off the 2018-19 season that saw Jarry appear in only two NHL games, Jarry entered training camp and earned his spot as the Penguins backup after a hard fought camp battle with Casey DeSmith. It turned out to be a blessing for the Penguins as Jarry stepped in for a struggling Murray early and established himself as an NHL caliber goaltender and made his case for being the Penguins future in net.
It was clear the Penguins valued Jarry and trusted in him to continue his development even when it looked like he may not work out in PIttsburgh and was blocked from being the top guy by Murray. That all changed this season when he turned into one of the best goaltenders in the league during the month of December. That play earned him the second Star of the Month honors and a place in the NHL All-Star Game.
As the Penguins were dealing with a struggling Murray and battling injuries up and down the lineup, Jarry stepped in and did his part to help them continue to win games and rack up points in the standings. Even though Murray was the starter coming off the season shutdown, Jarry looked and played like the better goalie starting in summer camp all the way through their brief stay in Toronto.
Based on what we know at the time of this article going live, it looks like Jarry will be the Penguins guy in goal heading into next season. Unless that changes, the Penguins will need Jarry to be the goalie he showed when he first took over starting duties earlier in the season. If there was a way to take Jarry’s play from November-December and spread it out over the course of a full season then that would be the ideal situation for the Penguins.
They don’t need Jarry to be red hot like he was during that time span all season long, but they will need him to be more consistent for a longer period of time if he is to help carry the team. His season numbers of .921 SV% and 2.43 GAA are solid, but that will need to be consistent rather than one month on, one month off type of play.
Question to ponder
How will Jarry handle the workload of a No. 1 netminder?
Goalies may no longer be asked to play 60+ plus games a season, but it remains to be seen exactly what type of workload Jarry is capable of handling if he is to be the Penguins No. 1 goalie next season. Even counting his time in the AHL, Jarry has never appeared in more than 50 games in a season, topping out at 47 with the Baby Pens in 2018-19.
If Jarry is to be the goalie the Penguins are hoping for, he will need to prove he can handle the work that comes with being a top goalie in the NHL. Unless something changes this offseason, one can assume DeSmith will serve as the backup, meaning in a perfect world Jarry will see around 55 games of action while DeSmith takes up the rest. That is around an average workload for a No. 1 goalie in today’s NHL, but it’s well above the 33 he played this season.
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