This season was do or die for some players. With underwhelming performances in the previous season and playoffs, some of the guys on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ roster needed to prove themselves. Two of those players, John Marino and Marcus Pettersson, have bounced back this year. However, their performance pales in comparison to Tristan Jarry‘s incredible year so far.
Why is it a Big Deal?
By now, everybody knows the story of Jarry. After last year’s first-round exit at the hands of the New York Islanders, fans demanded that he be traded. Jarry made multiple questionable plays, one of which was the unforgettable pass directly to an Islander that led to the Penguins losing that game. For a second, it did look like Jarry’s time in Pittsburgh was dwindling.
However, general manager Ron Hextall didn’t give up on the young goaltender. Instead, he gave Jarry some tools to grow and become better. For instance, Hextall fired the organization’s goalie coach and hired Andy Chiodo on Aug. 4, 2021. With such a big change to the team, Hextall was clearly taking a big risk on Jarry, who was under the watchful eye of fans everywhere.
Now, it’s looking like Hextall’s gamble may have paid off. Jarry has appeared in 33 games so far, with 31 of them being starts. In those 33 games, he’s won 22, lost seven and forced an overtime in four. Of course, his stats can’t be discussed without talking about his shutouts. So far, he has three under his belt, but there are still plenty of games left.
What does this Mean?
It could be safe to say that he’s finally fully confident in the net. Taking last season into consideration, there were plenty of times where he seemed to be rattled or nervous after allowing a goal or two. Now, it’s not the case. On Sunday, the Winnipeg Jets scored in the first and second periods, but Jarry remained headstrong. It was obvious that he was confident and was undoubtedly the main reason the Penguins were able to come back and win the game.
So far, Jarry has been nothing short of spectacular. In the aforementioned 33 games, he has 2.09 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. Those aren’t only great numbers, they look like Vezina-level stats. The effect that Jarry has had on the team is palpable as the players know that they have an incredibly reliable goaltender backstopping them.
Needless to say, Hextall seems to have made a great decision in not trading Jarry. He had the utmost confidence in him when it seemed like nobody else did, and it is paying off. If Jarry keeps playing as he has been, then the Penguins could be looking forward to a fortuitous season and perhaps an even better postseason. There, Jarry will be given a chance to redeem himself once and for all.
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