Goldipucks and the Three Netminders: Shesterkin, Jarry & Blackwood

Rick Roos

2021-09-15

Welcome to a special edition of Goldipucks and the Three Skaters, a play on words of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. For just the second time ever, the column is shifting gears to cover goalies instead of skaters, giving you Goaliepucks and the Three Netminders.

The positional focus might be different this time, but the rest of the column is unchanged in that instead of there being three bowls of porridge, I cover three players – here goalies – and declare one too hot (i.e., doing unsustainably better than he should), another too cold (i.e., doing unsustainably worse), and a third “just right” (i.e., producing where he should be). In addition, I also assign each a rating of 1-10, indicating how hot (rated 7-10, where 10 is the most unsustainably hot), cold (rated 1-4, where 1 is the most unsustainably cold), or “just right” (rated 4-7, where 5.5 is the most “just right”) he is.

The three goalies covered are Tristan Jarry, Igor Shesterkin, and MacKenzie Blackwood. As per usual, readers should stop here to play prognosticator by trying to guess which of the three – for 2020-21 – were too hot and too cold, plus who was just right, before reading on to see if you scored a hat trick.

Tristan Jarry

After serving as back-up to Matt Murray, the Pens liked what they saw in Jarry enough to trade their 26-year-old two-time Cup winning netminder and hand the reins to Jarry for 2020-21. To say things didn't go well at the outset would be a vast understatement, with Jarry allowing 3+ goals in eight of his first nine starts. Although his stats didn't completely renormalize, he played well enough to prevail in 23 of his last 32 starts and finish fourth in goalie wins for the season. The question is, who's the real Jarry – the shaky version we saw on full display at the outset of the season, or the workhorse wins machine? The numbers suggest we should expect more of the overall same – that is, his season-long numbers for 2020-21 are likely comparable to what we should see from him in 2021-22.

Jarry's quality start percentage (QS%) has risen in each of his last two seasons from what it was as a rookie, landing at 59% for 2021-22. That was good enough for 12th best among goalies who played 20+ games. With his slow start dragging that down though, it's bound to go up, right? Actually, it's not clear whether he can surpass 60%, especially since even as Murray was starring for the Pens he never exceeded the 60.0% mark. Looking back further, we see Marc-Andre Fleury