Tristan Jarry is likely to be moved this summer.
That's mostly a result of Jarry losing his waiver exempt status next season. Jarry signed his entry-level contract in September 2013, at age 18. Goaltenders who sign their first pro contract at age 18 lose their waiver-exempt status after six seasons or 80 NHL games played, whichever comes first. Jarry has played in only 51 NHL games, but 2018-19 was the sixth season since he signed his contract. If the Penguins wish to assign him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he would first have to pass through waivers.
Because of that, there are a few options. The Penguins could carry three goaltenders during the season -- Jarry, Casey DeSmith, and Matt Murray, which is unlikely. The Penguins could try to move DeSmith, but Jarry hasn't exactly proven that he's ready to step into that role, plus the Penguins recently signed DeSmith to a three-year contract extension. When I last spoke with Jarry in February, he had an interesting take on the DeSmith extension.
"I think that's great for him, it's a huge accomplishment," Jarry said at the time. "He'll be in Pittsburgh for a long time. So it's good to have another goalie locked up for that long. It'll be great for Pittsburgh to see all the goalies that we have."
A third option is risking losing Jarry to waivers in September, but that obviously isn't ideal if it's possible to get a return for him. That leaves a trade as the most likely scenario.
Are there any teams around the league that would have a spot for someone like Jarry? Let's take a look.
The Ducks have one NHL goaltender under contract next season: John Gibson. Gibson, 25, is signed through the 2026-27 season at a $6.4 million cap hit. Ryan Miller, 38, who served in a backup role, and Chad Johnson, 33, who was claimed off waivers and filled in for nine games when Miller was injured, will be unrestricted free agents next season.
The Ducks have four goaltending prospects in their system. Angus Redmond, 23, spent the majority of last season in the ECHL. Lukas Dostal, 18, is still playing Europe, and will remain there next season. Olle Eriksson Ek, 19, has also not yet made the move to North America.
Kevin Boyle, 27, was the starter for the San Diego Gulls last season, the Ducks' AHL affiliate, and did appear in five games for the Ducks. That makes him a candidate for the backup job next season. However, Jarry had better numbers in the AHL on a Wilkes-Barre team that had a nearly identical regular season record as San Diego. Jarry had a goals-against average of 2.66 and a save percentage of .915, while Boyle posted a 2.90 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage.
Both Jarry and Boyle have a cap hit of $675,000 next season. That's an attractive cap hit for a backup when the starter has the fifth-highest cap hit in the league among goaltenders.
The return on a player like Jarry wouldn't be very high, likely just a mid-round draft pick. After the first round, the Ducks have a second-round, fourth-round, fifth-round, and two sixth-round picks.
The Oilers currently have Mikko Koskinen, 30, under contract next season. He's signed through 2021-22 with a $4.5 million cap hit. Anthony Stolarz, 25, is set to become a free agent and isn't expected to return.
The Oilers also have four goaltending prospects in the system. Olivier Rodrigue, 18, is expected to remain in the QMJHL next season, Shane Starrett, 24, and Dylan Wells, 21, are expected to play in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors, while Stuart Skinner, 20, sees time in the ECHL with the Wichita Thunder.
So, there's going to be an opening for the NHL backup job.
And the Oilers do need some depth scoring ...
Jarry likely wouldn't mind returning to Edmonton, either. He played for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL for four years in juniors and won the Memorial Cup there in 2014.
After the first round, the Oilers have just one pick in each of the second, third, fourth, sixth, and seventh rounds.
The Avalanche don't exactly have any clear standouts already in the system who could back up Grubauer, either. Pavel Francouz is the leading candidate. Francouz, 29, was signed as an undrafted free agent to a one-year deal last summer, recording a 2.68 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 49 games with the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. He appeared in two games with the Avalanche, recording a 1.97 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage. He hasn't been in North America long, but the Avalanche liked what they saw from Francouz enough this season to give him a one-year extension in May.
The only other goaltender under contract in the Avalanche's system is 22-year-old Adam Werner, who has only played professionally in Sweden. Spencer Martin, 24, was Francouz's backup with the Eagles last season and is currently a restricted free agent. Even if he gets re-signed, he's not fighting for the NHL backup job.
After the first round, the Avalanche have a second-round pick, two third-round picks, and a pick in each of the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds in this summer's draft.
"We're under the feeling that we would like to have both of them back," Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said in May. "Saying that, they both have the right to be unrestricted free agents. We will begin shortly talking to their representation, but our goal would be to bring them both back if we could."
Scott Darling is still under contract for two more years, with a cap hit of $4.5 million. He was injured in the Hurricanes' final preseason game last season, and McElhinney was claimed off waivers to fill in. When Darling was healthy, it was clear that he was the No. 3 on the roster, and was re-assigned to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL.
The Hurricanes have 22-year-old Jeremy Helvig in the system, who played in the ECHL last season with the Florida Everblades. Callum Booth, 22, also spent the majority of the season in the ECHL on loan to the Reading Royals.
Alex Nedeljkovic, 23, is a restricted free agent this summer, but he's a strong candidate for more NHL time next season. He recorded a 2.26 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in 51 regular-season games with the Checkers, and appeared in 15 postseason games, with a 2.34 goals-against average and .916 save percentage as the Checkers went on to win the Calder Cup. Nedeljkovic is exempt from waivers for one more season, so he can easily return to the Checkers, if needed.
The Hurricanes have an abundance of picks after the first round, with three second-rounders, one pick in each of the third, fourth, and fifth rounds, two picks in the sixth round, and one in the seventh round.
OK, so a trade isn't a guarantee. So many goaltending tandems around the league haven't been decided yet, since this summer's free agent class is especially strong at goaltender. Mrazek, McElhinney, Varlamov, Sergei Bobrovsky, Robin Lehner, Mike Smith, Cam Talbot, Cam Ward, and Brian Elliott are all without contracts for next season, to name a few. The full list of all 48 free agent goaltenders could be found here. Other goaltenders, such as James Reimer, are trade candidates.
If Jarry is still a Penguin by the time all the dust settles in free agency, it might turn out that there really isn't a clear opening for him around the rest of the league. In that case, he might be able to clear waivers in September. It's much easier for players to clear waivers at that time of year, when most teams have healthy rosters.
I don't think that the signing of 22-year-old Emil Larmi has an impact on what happens with Jarry. Larmi and 20-year-old Alex D'Orio are the only other goaltenders in the system currently under contract. I would be surprised if they're a tandem in Wilkes-Barre. Neither has played professionally in North America before, and teams usually don't like two young goaltenders to be the only guys sharing the net. A more likely scenario would be one starting in Wilkes-Barre and another starting in Wheeling, each sharing the net with a more experienced player to help them adjust.
You have to remember that Wilkes-Barre and Wheeling don't have designated goalie coaches. That's a big reason why it is unlikely that two young, inexperienced goaltenders would start the season together in Wilkes-Barre. Andy Chiodo is the goaltending development coach and he works with both teams, but he isn't in either city full-time. Chiodo also does some scouting work throughout the season.
Jarry, if he does manage to stick around and clear waivers, could certainly fill that mentor role for whichever goaltender is in Wilkes-Barre.
To continue reading, log into your account: