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An unflattering trend for Tristan Jarry

June 7, 2024, 5:51 PM ET [86 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As things stand the Penguins are heading into the 2024-25 season with Tristan Jarry set to play a meaningful amount of games for the sixth consecutive season. He currently has four more years remaining on his contract that has an average AAV of 5.375M. Jarry has been able to provide high level play for short stretches during the past five years. It has led to him being selected to two all star teams. The problem is he is a career .912 goalie much in the way Marc-Andre Fleury is a career .912 goalie. They are all over the place in how they arrive at their average save percentage.

One huge difference between the .912 goalies is that Marc-Andre Fleury could find his game when the team needed it most. It certainly didn’t happen all the time, but he was able to play great in some high leverage moments throughout his career. This included a 2008 playoff run that likely would have yielded a Conn Smythe Trophy for his play if the Penguins had won the Cup. Fleury also played at an incredibly high level in the Penguins second round victory over a great 2017 Capitals team. Fleury’s most iconic moment was in the waning seconds of Game 7 when the Penguins upset the 2009 Red Wings when he stuffed Nicklas Lidstrom. He also stuff Alex Ovechkin in a Game 7 breakaway the same season. So far, Tristan Jarry has not answered the bell in this regard. He doesn’t have any notable moments outside of scoring a goal, an impressive feat, just not one related to stopping the puck.

Just this season Jarry watched his backup goaltender start 13 games in a row down the stretch. A rare workload in this era. It was an earned demotion. The team needed standings points desperately and Jarry wasn’t the best option for them to earn them.

After seeing Jarry relegated to the bench this past spring I couldn’t help but feel like this is a regular occurrence over the years. It feels like Jarry is either out due to health reasons or failing to give the team acceptable play towards the end of the season(s).

The Penguins haven’t played a ton of playoff games the past five seasons, including zero in the past two. They’ve played in 18 playoff games since Jarry became a regular. Jarry has only played in eight of those games. In those eight playoff games he only has an .891 save percentage. It hasn’t been a great showing by Jarry.

So while I was somewhat confident in my feeling Jarry hasn’t finished strong in each of his five seasons a regular, I wanted to put some numbers behind it. I went through Jarry’s game log the past five seasons and ran some ten game rolling averages with his save percentages. I have included the playoff games in these samples Here’s what I found:

In 2019-20 Jarry split time with Matt Murray. It was Murray’s last season with the team. Jarry peaked early in the season which earned him his first career all-star nod. After peaking things progressively got worse. Murray was an .899 goalie this season so the team could have used some solid play down the stretch. They didn’t get it from Jarry, but given this was his first NHL season as a regular I have some more patience with his downturn. Murray needed to be better.

In 2020-21 things started incredibly rocky. Jarry battled out of the early season funk and found a stretch of solid play until about the halfway point in the season. He dipped again, bounced back up, and then slid well below the .900 mark to finish out the year. This includes the playoff series against the Islanders which saw Jarry play at an .888 clip. This is the second year in a row the dip has come at the end of the season.

In 2021-22 Jarry earned his second career invite to the all star game. It was on the back of his early season play which was tremendous. It was short lived. He nose dived for most of the regular season. He found his game a little bit towards the end, but it was nowhere near as good as the beginning of the year. He finished the year with his rolling average below .900. He was .867 in his lone playoff game against the Rangers. The Penguins goaltending, along with Trouba’s dirty elbow to Crosby, were the prime reasons the Penguins did not advance in round one.

In 2022-23 the first part of Jarry’s season found him playing at a decent level. Again, it was unsustainable, and he spiraled all the way down to an .811 ten game average before getting things to a .906 level at the end of the year. While it did improve the Penguins needed better than .906 to make up for the bottoming out that happened. The team missed the playoffs by a single point. Jarry’s free fall being one of the main reasons.

This brings us to last season where once again Jarry had some very strong stretches of play. They were again met with sizeable drops. The latter portion of the year saw him continue to slide further and further down to the point where Alex Nedeljkovic took over and played for a month straight.

When you look at the previous five seasons you see a goaltender who can hit some impressive highs, but for short stretches. You see a goaltender also prone to sizeable drops in quality of play with those drops coming towards the ends of seasons. While it would be nice for Jarry to buck this trend heading into 2024-25 I don’t know how anybody could feel comfortable predicting it to happen. Unfortunately, for the Penguins they have a highly volatile starting goaltender with minimal reliability at the most important times of the season. A goalie who also has four years left on a contract at 5.375M. It is not the most ideal place to be in. It is however the Penguins reality.

Thanks for reading!
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