To bolster their goaltending depth, the Penguins traded up in the 2013 NHL Draft in order to select Tristan Jarry of the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings.
Pittsburgh sent picks No. 50 and 89 to the Columbus Blue Jackets to secure the 44th overall slot in the second round, where the Penguins took Jarry with their first selection of the draft on Sunday at Prudential Center in New Jersey.
“We see a potential starting goalie,” said assistant director of amateur scouting Randy Sexton of Jarry. “He’s got the technical foundation and the size we think to be a starter. So when he was still available, we asked Ray to make the trade to move up to get him.”
The Penguins have stockpiled a number of elite defensive prospects on their blue line over the last few years, and drafting Jarry has helped them do the same at the goaltending position.
The Penguins now have four solid goaltending prospects with the addition of Jarry, and the team began building its depth at the position at last year’s draft in Pittsburgh – where they took a pair of goalies in Matthew Murray (Sault Ste. Marie) and Sean Maguire (Boston University) in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.
The Penguins then signed Eric Hartzell in April after the Hobey Baker Award (best college hockey player) finalist helped Quinnipiac earn the school’s first-ever Frozen Four berth and win several major awards this year along the way, including the USA Hockey College Player of the Year.
As of now, the Penguins goaltending tandem for next season is set. Veterans Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun are returning and general manager Ray Shero and head coach Dan Bylsma have emphatically voiced their support for both men.
But it’s Shero’s job to balance keeping the big picture in perspective while trying to win championships right now, and making sure the Penguins have players in the organization capable of stepping in between the pipes down the road is crucial to future success. And right now, the team believes they have that.
“We’re very pleased with the players that we have,” Sexton said. “Murray’s made good strides as has Sean Maguire at BU, and certainly we’ve got the college hockey player of the year with Eric Hartzell. So we think by adding Tristan Jarry to that group, we finally have some good quality depth staggered in the pipeline at the goaltending position.”
Jarry has an abundance of potential, but first he must prove he can handle the starter’s role in Edmonton before even thinking about handling the starter’s role in Pittsburgh some day, as he has spent each of his two seasons in the Western Hockey League backing up Calgary Flames prospect Laurent Brossoit,
And Jarry will get that opportunity this season, as Brossoit will be moving on to the next step of his career with the Flames – leaving Jarry to assume the No. 1 role for the 2013-14 campaign.
“(Jarry) didn’t get a lot of ice time this year because he was playing behind a Calgary draft pick in Edmonton, but he will be the starter next year,” Sexton said. “We’d like to see him play at least 45-50 games as the starter in Edmonton. They’ll be strong again next year, so that will be good. We’ll see how he’s able to handle the full-time workload, but we have every expectation he’ll be just fine.”
Jarry believes that he will be.
“I think it will be fun for me,” Jarry said. “It will see what I can do and give me a chance to take the ball and run with it.”