The Penguins announced some good news today after their morning skate. Goalie Tristan Jarry will be in the net tonight for his first game in nearly a month.
Coach Sullivan on Jarry: "When he's been in the net this year, he's been really solid for us. We're anxious to get him back in the net. He's feeling good. He's feeling strong... Without a doubt one of the strengths of his game is his ability to play the puck." pic.twitter.com/Xbeu4KreW5— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 20, 2023
Sullivan using the word “anxious” when talking about wanting Jarry back in is very fitting. Pittsburgh has a 16-5-5 record with Jarry as the goalie of record in games this season. Without Jarry and under the backing of Casey DeSmith and Dustin Tokarski the record has cratered to 11-14-4.
The team has not formally activated Jarry from the injured reserve, but surely will be making that procedural move this afternoon before the game. In order to fit Jarry under the player limits, the natural corresponding move will be to send Tokarski back to the minor leagues. Since Tokarski was recalled on an emergency loan, he will not have to pass through waivers and can be safely assigned straight to Wilkes-Barre.
The Pens had several other positive developments in their morning skate from other injured players as well.
Full group is skating for the #Pens this AM.— Josh Getzoff (@JG_PxP) February 20, 2023
- Jarry out there
- Poehling in a regular jersey
- Rutta in a regular jersey
- Friedman in a no-contact jersey pic.twitter.com/QseypLc4Wo
That accounts for all the injured players, with no one missing off the ice. Considering how deep into the season that the Pens are — don’t read the rest of this sentence if you believe that words written on the internet can tempt or change fate — the Penguins currently and probably temporarily find themselves in very favorable injury conditions right now. (Tonight’s opponent can’t say the same, the Islanders announced star forward Mat Barzal is out indefinitely after suffering an injury on Saturday night. Key players in Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau are also unavailable tonight).
Jan Rutta has been out since January 14th with an undisclosed upper body injury. The mechanics to get Rutta back on the roster will be more challenging, since he is the lone player on the long-term injured reserve. Should Rutta be ready before anyone else suffers an injury, Pittsburgh would likely have to trim two of Mark Friedman, Drew O’Connor and Danton Heinen from the NHL roster in order to fit back under the upper limit of the salary cap. Of current players, only O’Connor can be sent to the AHL without needing waivers, though O’Connor is also the only one currently finding himself in the actual playing lineup.
Beyond that issue to figure out when the time is ready for it, the Pens will happily get Jarry in for only his fourth start of the year 2023 and hope that all his injury issues are behind him long enough for them to make a push down the stretch with their best goalie.