The Penguins have a couple of options when it comes to what happens with Tristan Jarry.
This coming season is the first season in which Jarry would require waivers to be assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, a result of reaching six professional seasons played. That leaves the Penguins with four potential paths:
• The Penguins could keep three goaltenders on the NHL roster. That's unlikely given the current lack of cap space.
• The Penguins could keep Jarry as the No. 2 goaltender, and move Casey DeSmith in some way.
• The Penguins could trade Jarry rather than risk losing him to waivers, leaving the likely minor-league tandems to be Dustin Tokarski and Emil Larmi in Wilkes-Barre, and Alex D'Orio and Jordan Ruby in Wheeling.
• The Penguins could attempt to pass Jarry through waivers.
As Jim Rutherford told Dave Molinari last month, that last option is looking like a likely path.
“The goalie market really changed,” Rutherford said. “There were a lot of free-agent goalies this year, so teams weren’t trading for goalies. I’m not as sure that, if we had to put a goalie on waivers, they wouldn’t clear at this point because of the number of teams that picked up free-agent goalies. That market is kind of shifting all the time. I don’t feel any urgency to move a goalie prior to training camp or the start of the season.”
What does the current market look like for goaltenders? Let's look at where each team stands when it comes to goaltending, and the cap hit of each goaltender.
Bruins: Tuukka Rask ($7 million), Jaroslav Halak ($2.75 million)
Sabres: Carter Hutton ($2.75 million), Linus Ullmark ($1.325 million)
Red Wings: Jimmy Howard ($4 million), Jonathan Bernier ($3 million)
Panthers: Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million), Samuel Montembeault ($708,750, waivers exempt)
Canadiens: Carey Price ($10.5 million), Keith Kinkaid ($1.75 million)
Senators: Craig Anderson ($4.75 million), Anders Nilsson ($2.6 million)
Lightning: Andrei Vasilevskiy ($3.5 million), Curtis McElhinney ($1.3 million)
Maple Leafs: Frederik Andersen ($5 million), Michael Hutchinson ($700,000), Michal Neuvirth (professional tryout)
Hurricanes: James Reimer ($3.4 million), Petr Mrazek ($3.125 million)
Blue Jackets: Joonas Korpisalo ($1.15 million), Elvis Merzlikins ($874,125, waivers exempt)
Devils: Cory Schneider ($6 million), Mackenzie Blackwood ($697,500, waivers exempt)
Islanders: Semyon Varlamov ($5 million), Thomas Greiss ($3,333,333)
Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist ($8.5 million), Alexandar Georgiev ($792,500, waivers exempt)
Flyers: Brian Elliott ($2 million), Carter Hart ($730,833, waivers exempt)
Capitals: Braden Holtby ($6.1 million), Pheonix Copley ($1.1 million)
Blackhawks: Corey Crawford ($6 million), Robin Lehner ($5 million)
Avalanche: Philipp Grubauer ($3,333,333), Pavel Francouz ($950,000)
Stars: Ben Bishop ($4,916,666), Anton Khudobin ($2.5 million)
Wild: Devan Dubnyk ($4,333,333), Alex Stalock ($785,000)
Predators: Pekka Rinne ($5 million), Juuse Saros ($1.5 million)
Blues: Jordan Binnington, ($4.4 million), Jake Allen ($4.35 million)
Jets: Connor Hellebuyck ($6,166,666), Laurent Brossoit ($1.225 million), Eric Comrie (RFA)
Ducks: John Gibson ($6.4 million), Ryan Miller ($1.125 million), Anthony Stolarz ($750,000)
Coyotes: Antti Raanta ($4.25 million), Darcy Kuemper ($1.850 million)
Flames: David Rittich ($2.75 million), Cam Talbot ($2.75 million)
Oilers: Mikko Koskinen ($4.5 million), Mike Smith ($2 million)
Kings: Jonathan Quick ($5.8 million), Jack Campbell ($675,000)
Sharks: Martin Jones ($5.75 million), Aaron Dell ($1.9 million)
Canucks: Jacob Markstrom ($3,666,667), Thatcher Demko ($1.05 million, waivers exempt)
Golden Knights: Marc-Andre Fleury ($7 million), Malcolm Subban ($850,000)
Really, there aren't any teams that would seem to be in the market for a player like Jarry if he were to be put on waivers. Nearly all of the young, waivers-exempt goaltenders on NHL rosters -- like the Flyers' Hart and Rangers' Georgiev -- are highly-touted goaltenders and have more NHL experience than Jarry.
The Blue Jackets' Merzlikins is the only one of the waivers-exempt goaltenders new to the NHL. He's 25, and was signed out of the Swiss NLA this summer. Still, Merzlikins is expected to compete with Korpisalo for the No. 1 job in Columbus, so they wouldn't be in the market for a goaltender like Jarry either.
It's usually easiest to pass a player through waivers at the start of the season, when rosters are typically healthy. If a goaltender is injured in camp or the preseason, though, that could change the market. There were a few cases of that happening at the start of last season. Michal Neuvirth was injured for the Flyers, so they claimed Calvin Pickard from the Maple Leafs. Once the Flyers no longer needed Pickard, he was waived. When Scott Darling was injured for the Hurricanes, the Hurricanes claimed McElhinney off waivers, also from the Maple Leafs.
If Jarry were to be claimed, it still wouldn't necessarily mean the end of his time in the Penguins' organization. If a team claimed Jarry to start the season due to injury, then waived him once they no longer needed him, the Penguins would be allowed to reclaim Jarry and assign him directly to Wilkes-Barre if no other team put in a claim. If a team were to claim Jarry on waivers, they would be expected to keep him on the NHL roster for the rest of the season.
So, if Jarry does actually clear waivers, what happens? Larmi was a championship-winning goaltender in the top Finnish men's league last season, and signed in the organization because he's expected to actually get some regular playing time. Tokarski is also coming off of a championship run, after he won the Calder Cup last season with the Charlotte Checkers and new Wilkes-Barre coach Mike Vellucci. Tokarski is a 10-year AHL veteran with 34 games of NHL experience, and could conceivably step into the role of a third goaltender if needed. He would just have to be signed to an NHL contract first.
Another option here is that if Jarry clears waivers, he could still be traded. If a player clears waivers then gets traded, the acquiring team is allowed to assign him directly to their AHL affiliate without further waivers. If Jarry clears, he could become an attractive option for teams around the league without a suitable third goaltender, knowing that they could stick him in the AHL until they'd need him. In this case, Jarry clearing waivers could potentially add to his value for some teams.
Since Rutherford feels no urgency to move a goaltender before the start of the season, it looks like it could be another month and a half before the goaltending situation is settled.
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