With all the buzz surrounding goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury‘s apparent departure from the Penguins organization, the focus has shifted to what they can get in a potential return for Fleury.
The goalie who’s sort of forced him out of the starting job, and likely Pittsburgh, Matt Murray, has been getting the attention of everyone since he had 15 of the 16 wins on the way to a Stanley Cup in his first go-around in net.
Most of you know about Tristan Jarry, or have at least heard the name pop up in conversation. He is the Penguins eventual back up goalie in the situation where a goaltender (likely Fleury) is traded.
Jarry was selected 44th overall (2nd round) by Pittsburgh and was immediately touted as the Penguins eventual heir apparent to Fleury when his career was over. Then Murray showed up and took the AHL by storm collecting records on top of records and winning tons of games. Jarry’s play had relegated him to the back up goalie position at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season behind Casey DeSmith during the postseason.
Such is not the case this season.
He’s back, and with a vengeance. He’s playing like the goalie the Penguins had hoped he would be when they drafted him in 2013.
He’s 19-8-0 with a 2.28 GAA and a .919 save percentage. His numbers are superb and he’s proving that he’s a solid goalie.
The Penguins will soon have some questions about what the future holds for Jarry. Assuming the Penguins trade Marc-Andre Fleury, they will absolutely use Matt Murray as their starter for the foreseeable future. The Penguins drafted Jarry in the second round so they’re very high on his abilities. They could keep him in the backup role or even throw him in to compete against Murray for the bulk of playing time. Their other option could be to use Jarry in a backup role similar to Flower’s now: Play Murray and allow him to catch a string of fire but let Jarry get ample playing time. This way you can pitch his goaltending skills to other teams around the league and trade him for a potentially valuable piece.
The Penguins have goaltender Filip Gustavsson, their second round pick this season, who is younger than Jarry and will take time to develop. Jarry is at an age where his best shot to begin proving his worth is approaching. He won’t get much of an opportunity in Pittsburgh to start but a team desperate to take a chance on a young goaltender over the course of the next season or two could make a call to Jim Rutherford for Jarry.
Jarry has yet to make his NHL debut, though he has watched a handful of games from the bench due to injuries to Murray and Fleury. He was the backup in game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals vs. the Rangers last season while Jeff Zatkoff was rewarded the start.
The Penguins could go in multiple directions with Tristan Jarry. Although I don’t see him being a perennial backup with the potential quality of his skills, the Penguins could always opt to keep Jarry and role with two very young goalies for a long time to come.