Penguins Upcoming Free Agent Jarry Sign ’em or Trade ’em

Penguins. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Penguins. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Penguins have some tough decisions to make. We all know the March 03.2023 NHL Trade Deadline is fast approaching, and that means upcoming Free Agents are officially on the Trading Block.  Or are they?

Guess who is an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of 2022-2023…Yup…#35.

Would you sign him right now, to a Long-Term Deal?  To a Term Deal?  Or Trade Him?

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A quick look at the NHL standings, shows the following…

Pittsburgh Penguins as of Feb 22.2023

27-20-9 = 63 pts

5th   -in the Metropolitan Division

8th -in the Eastern Conference (ties)

13th -Tied in the NHL (overall)

Pittsburgh Penguins are one point out of the #2 Wild Card Playoff Spot, Eastern Conference….ouch.

The Penguins have underperformed for most of this season and the Penguins FANBASE are fed up with this roster and it’s inability to close out games.

The Fans are clamoring for change.  Some fans have been asking for change for quite some time, while others were looking for some changes with last year’s group of Free Agents.

Remember last year when these players were Upcoming Free Agents?

Malkin #71 – Forward = re-signed.

Rust #17 – Forward = re-signed.

Rodrigues #9 – Forward = released at the end of the year as a Free Agent.

Kapanen #42 – Forward = re-signed.

Page down for more details on the Term of Contract and Dollars that Penguins Management gave each of these players. Which brings us today’s Cap Conundrum.  Ok Pens faithful, let’s see if history will repeat itself.

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Let’s look at Tristan Jarry #35 Goalie, as of Feb 22.2023 and discuss what to do.

A 2013 Draft Pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Jarry has played his entire career with Pittsburgh.  He became a leader on this team last year, when he put up All-Star Stats and led the Penguins in playing some of the most amazing hockey I have seen, from Mid November until he got hurt late last year.

Jarry #35 – $3.5 Million – Age 27 – By the Numbers

28 – Games Started in 2022-23 (Ranked 25th overall in the NHL)

16 – Wins (Ranked 18th overall in the NHL)

.920 – Save %  (Ranked 6th overall in the NHL)

2.67 – GAA  (Ranked 14h overall in the NHL)

Jarry has been injured on and off for the better part of this season, which is why his numbers are down.

In his career, Jarry has played 5 – years as the Penguins goalie.

Last year was Jarry’s career year, where he posted, 34 wins, .921 Save % and 2.43 GAA.  This stat line, allowed Jarry to become an NHL All-Star and be part of the Vezina conversation.

The Penguins rank 17th overall in the NHL in Goals Allowed with 177. (Down from last year when they ranked 6th overall in Feb 2022).

The Penguins rank 15th overall in the NHL with a Power Play of 21.5% (Down from last year when they ranked 13th overall in the NHL in Power Play at 22.0% in Feb2022.)

The Penguins rank 14th overall in the NHL with a Penalty Kill of 80.6% (Down from last year when they ranked 3rd overall in the NHL in Penalty Kill with a 85.8% Kill Rate in Feb 2022.)

Goaltender Jarry is a huge part of this team’s success.  He is the Penguins #1 Penalty Killer and his absence shows up in the stat lines, as well as in the standings.

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Game Play

Jarry has been pegged as the franchise goalie since he was drafted in 2013.  He has never really taken the reigns and ran with it.  Often injured, is the main headline of his career to date.  However, when healthy, he can be Good to Great.

#35, when playing, can be an elite NHL Goalie.  He is Rock-Solid in the net.  He has very good lateral movement and is always aware of where he is in his net.  He has good rebound control and has made the key save at the right time, in many Penguins games to date.  However, he seems to get injured quite often, as mentioned previously and he has not found success in the post season.

Jarry is in the final year of his contract, making $3.5 Million.

Comparables as of Feb 22.2023

Hart – Philly – Age 24 – 16 Wins $3.979 Million Per Season

Kuemper – Wash – Age 32 – 16 Wins $5.25 Million Per Season

Fluery – Minny NYR – Age 38 – 16 Wins $3.5 Million Per Season (s/b Core 4 eh?)

Note: There are 9 Upcoming Free Agent Goalies who are age 36 and older…yikes.

Other Goalies of interest

Varlamov – NYI

Bernier – NJ

Raanta – Canes

Anderson – Canes

Note: all these goalies play in the Metropolitan Division, you know, like the same one as the Penguins.  Meaning these teams ‘aint gonna help the Penguins get any better this year, while they are trying to beat them, am I right?

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My View from the Cheap Seats

Jarry #35 has been a good goalie for the Penguins, however, he has yet to take them to the Next Level.  I really thought this year was going to be his All-World year, given it’s his Contract Year.  He simply has not performed up to standard.  Also note, as Jarry goes, so do the Penguins.

As you know from the past five years, and can see with your own eyes, the Penguins are in a real pickle with their Goalie situation.

All-Star Jarry will command big bucks as a Free Agent on the Free Market.  Injured Jarry, and Playoff Jarry, not so much.

The Penguins are an inconsistent team with veterans who know how to win.  They want to make a run for the Stanley Cup this year, however, they need a healthy Jarry to do so.

As the Penguins near closer to the March 03.2023 NHL trade Deadline, they are looking to Win Now as well as in the future.  I see this playing out three ways.

1-Signing Jarry  to a Large Long-Term Contract, will severely handcuff the Penguins Cap structure, for the remaining term of this proposed deal.  I’m not convinced, with his body of work, that he has earned the Elite, Top 5 goalie dollars. (Vasilevsky – TB $9.5 Million per season)

2-Signing Jarry to a 2 or 3-Year Contract, matching the term left on the Crosby #87 contract, is an option, again as long as the money is right.  You might be able to back-end load the 3rd year if necessary. (Shesterkin – NYR $5.66 Million per season) ( I say keep it as is, $3.5 Million per)

3-Play it out this season.  Try and make the playoffs, and have a long run at the cup, and maybe part ways, if Jarry wants to get rich elsewhere.

In my humble opinion, Jarry has been a good Penguin, and I would love to keep All-Star Jarry for the right price.  However, history tells us #35 will continue to get hurt, off and on throughout any season, and may even have an ongoing hip issue.

In todays Cap Era, a bad long-term contract can handcuff a franchise. Oh yeah, Pens Fans know all to well about that-see below.

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I forgot to mention, the Penguins still have these Upcoming Free Agents to consider Signing or Trading…

The A-List Upcoming Free Agents at the end of 2022-23.

Dumoulin-D >>>$4.1 Million

Zucker-LW/RW >>>$5.5 Million

Blueger-LW/RW >>>$2.2 Million

Heinen LW/RW >>>$1.0 Million

Archibald Rw/Lw >>>$900k

Tokarski-G >>>$750k

Remember Last Trade Deadline / Free Agency…?

Letang-D – age 35 -signed for $6.1 Million over 6 years. (Gm MP: You knew he played lights out, crazy good for that final contract of his career and could not replicate that kind of production right?)

Malkin-F- age 36 -signed for $6.1 Million over 4 years.  (Gm MP: You knew his MVP days were in the past and that he is weak Defensively) (career 44% Face-off win %.)…right?

Rakell-F – age 29 signed for $5 Million over 6 years.  (Gm MP: You knew he hasn’t been a 30-goal scorer for 5 years now., and that he is a weak defender, and not tough along the boards…right?)

Kapanen-F age 26 -signed for $3.2 Million over 2 years.  (Gm MP: You knew he was brutal last year, and so you re-signed him for more term?  And he is underperforming again this year…or is he simply performing…you know what I mean…right?)

Heinen-F age 27 -signed for $1 Million over 1 year.  (Gm MP: As a depth guy, as mentioned above.  He hits and has some sandpaper.  He is not a scorer, but you knew that already…right?)

DeSmith-G age 31 -signed for $1.8 Million over 2 years. ( Gm MP: I was not convinced he was the answer, I’m still not convinced he is…but you were?)

Tokarski-G age 33 -signed for $775k over 1 year.  (Gm MP: Depth in G-ok, however after watching him play, he will not be the answer.  I can see it now, but you couldn’t?)

Quote of the Day:

Insanity is defined as…

“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Einstein – Physicist