Penguins goalie prospect Jarry dealing with redefined expectations
Penguins goaltending prospect Tristan Jarry experienced something last year that was foreign to him during his previous three seasons of junior hockey.
Hard times. Struggle. The feeling of looking at the Western Hockey League standings and wondering whether his Edmonton Oil Kings team ever would get that “X” in the standings that indicates a clinched playoff berth.
Jarry didn't like it, but he learned from the experience.
“The past three years with the Oil Kings, we were probably the first team in the playoffs in (all of Canadian junior hockey),” Jarry said. “This year, we were one of the last teams to clinch a spot. It really does show how much harder you have to work. Not everything's given to you.”
Jarry wasn't overstating Edmonton's accomplishments. From 2011-14, the team won at least 50 games and reached the WHL finals three times. It won two league championships and one Memorial Cup.
Jarry shined and was lauded as a rising star. During that span, counting regular season and playoffs, he went 89-29-3. He won 60 games during the 2013-14 season alone.
But then last summer a handful of key Edmonton players, including leading scorer Henrik Samuelsson, turned pro. Coach Derek Laxdal took a job in the American Hockey League. Jarry was, more or less, the last man standing from the championship teams.
His numbers suffered accordingly. He went 23-26-6 during the regular season, and the Oil Kings were ousted in five games in the first round of the WHL playoffs.
Meanwhile, fellow Penguins goaltending prospect Matt Murray was breaking records and winning awards during a historic rookie season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL.
At last year's development camp, Jarry was the belle of the ball. This year, he's in Murray's shadow.
“I don't think it feels any different than last year, and I didn't think there was any pressure last year,” Jarry said. “I just went about it my own way and worked hard.”
There is more hard work in store for Jarry in the near future as he prepares to fight for playing time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the fall.
Moving back ahead of Murray on the organizational depth chart will be, in a word, difficult.
“Moving up to pro, I don't know what the speed's going to be like. I know the shots are going to be harder,” Jarry said. “You have to evolve your game and bring it that much higher.”