Many of you probably looked at the title of this article and think: the Penguins have one of the best goalie prospects in the NHL in Tristan Jarry so why not call him up?
It’s true that Jarry is a highly regarded prospect who was drafted in the second round (44th overall) in 2014 coming out of the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.
His play style is comparable to Ben Bishop from the Dallas Stars. He has great puck control and has championship experience in juniors when he was part of the Edmonton Oil Kings when they won the Memorial Cup back in 2014. Also in 2016, he was the backup in two games to Jeff Zatkoff during the playoffs when both Marc Andre Fleury and Matt Murray were out with injuries.
In 2017, he played backup for two playoff rounds when Murray was out. He made his NHL debut against the Rangers in the final game of the regular season. He had many good looks but lost to the New York Rangers and finished with a 0.880 save percentage on a Pittsburgh team without many of their usual starters.
As for Casey DeSmith, he seemed to come out of nowhere. From the University of New Hampshire and through the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL, DeSmith challenged Tristan Jarry in the AHL for starts. He has excellent reflexes and plays with confidence and has so far this season been the better goaltender in Wilkes-Barre Scranton.
His numbers are significantly better than Jarry’s in the early part of the year and when DeSmith was recalled they both had 3 games played. DeSmith has a 0.965 save percentage and a 0.98 GAA including a shutout performance. Jarry has been slow and started off with a disappointing 0.880 save percentage and a 3.960 GAA.
DeSmith now looks to transfer that play into the NHL. Meanwhile Jarry can continue developing and can get the majority of the starts down in Wilkes-Barre. The Penguins are in no rush to have Jarry in the NHL and want him to take his time developing. Even if Jarry had better numbers the smarter thing to do would be to let him continue that play in the minors and not disrupt his development.
This decision will be smart for the Penguins in the long run and will also benefit the young Jarry who could one day be a solid goaltender.