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Tristan Jarry Will Determine Penguins Success in 2022-23

Tristan Jarry heads into 2022-23 as the Pittsburgh Penguins key to success.

The Pittsburgh Penguins head into the 2022-23 season with high hopes and an aging core group of players. Health will undoubtedly play a factor in whether or not the team will clinch their 17th straight postseason appearance. A more pivotal factor will be the play of goaltender Tristan Jarry.

There are many reasons for the Penguins recent stretch of first-round exits, but goaltending issues may be the primary reason they have failed to advance. In 2021, Jarry put together one of the worst performances in Penguins playoff history, allowing 3.18 goals per game with a .888 save percentage. Yet the Penguins were one ill-advised pass from Jarry away in Game 5 from putting the Islanders on the brink of elimination.

Last season, Jarry and Casey DeSmith missed most of their series against the New York Rangers, and Louis Domingue's .898 save percentage put the Penguins on their heels. However, they were able to take the Rangers and their Vezina Trophy goaltender to a seventh game.

If Jarry can be available and more of the goalie he's been during the regular season, the Penguins will be in a position to find success in the postseason in 2023. Penguins radio play-by-play announcer Josh Getzoff echoed that sentiment on the latest episode of Penguins Lunch and even went as far as to call the Penguins contenders if they get Jarry's best performance.

Jarry is heading into the final year of a three-year contract with the Penguins. Those situations usually end up going one of two ways. Either Jarry steps up and plays confident en route to his next contract, or he plays tight and tentative, not wanting to hurt his next contract. The 27-year-old netminder has been known to have an easygoing demeanor and has shown his ability to move past rough performances.

While the state of their contract negotiations hasn't been publicly spoken of, Penguins general manager Ron Hextall expressed confidence in his goalie last month.

“I think the fact that Jars bounced back from pretty tough circumstances… and had a very good year for us,” Hextall told 93.7 the Fan's Morning Show. “We have a lot of trust in Jarry. We feel very comfortable with our goaltending.”

At his best, Jarry has proven to be one of the premiere starting goalies in the NHL. The two-time NHL All-Star has finished seventh in Vezina Trophy voting two of the past three seasons and even received Hart Trophy votes for his performance during the 2019-20 season.

His peak performance was on display last season on national television against the New York Rangers in February, where he stopped all 27 Ranger shots en route to a 1-0 Penguins victory. If the Penguins see that version of Tristan Jarry in the postseason, they will be a tough out for anyone in the Eastern Conference.

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