Ramblings: Goalie Competition in Pittsburgh, Devil of a Time (Dec 7)

Ian Gooding

2019-12-07


If you were looking for a flashback to the dead puck era, Friday’s action contained many low-scoring games. So this version of the Ramblings will concentrate heavily on the goalies.

Tristan Jarry stopped all 33 shots he faced in recording his second consecutive shutout, a 2-0 win over Arizona. Regardless of Jarry’s previous shutout on Wednesday against St. Louis, the plan might have been for Jarry to start two consecutive games anyway. The Pens play again today (Saturday), which will probably be Matt Murray’s start. Still, the recent numbers validate Jarry receiving a larger share of the workload recently over Murray. Since November 16:

Jarry: 6-1-0, 1.57 GAA, .950 SV%, 2 SO, 5 QS

Murray: 0-1-2, 4.80 GAA, .832 SV%, 0 SO, 0 QS

Yes, Jarry has received more work than Murray over that span. In fact, he’s started five of the past seven games for the Pens. Does that mean that Murray owners should panic? Well, you may recall that around this time last season, Casey DeSmith also had better numbers than Murray. Much of that had to do with the team playing better in front of DeSmith. Then in mid-December, Murray started to turn things around to make his overall season numbers more respectable. Like last season, Murray will also receive every opportunity to rebound because of salary ($3.75 million for Murray, $675,000 for Jarry).

That doesn’t mean Jarry (Dobber Prospects profile) will fade away like DeSmith (although I think DeSmith could still be a decent backup goalie for some team – ahem Toronto). For one, both Jarry and Murray are RFAs beyond this season. So aside from the equity that Murray has built as a two-time Stanley Cup winner, the Pens might not be any more tied to him than they are Jarry. So not only are they competing for a job, but also potentially protection in the Seattle expansion draft in 2021.

Let’s not go too far down the keeper status rabbit hole yet, since we still have over half a season to play and much can happen. In the near term, simply consider this to be the coach riding the hot hand because the team needs wins. H