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A Look at the Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltending for 2024-25

Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltending

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltending situation for the 2024-2025 season is unsteady as this analysis covers the team’s options in net. Goaltenders are the cornerstone of any successful hockey team. They provide the last line of defence and can turn the tide of games. The Pittsburgh Penguins have long understood the importance of a strong presence between the pipes. Goaltenders like Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray were instrumental in bringing the Stanley Cup. However, as the 2024-2025 season approaches, the Pittsburgh Penguins goaltending situation could take some turns. This remains crucial for the team to optimize.

A Look at the 2024-25 Pittsburgh Penguins Goaltending

Tristan Jarry: The Shaky Starter

Tristan Jarry has been the starting goaltender for the Penguins for a few seasons now. He is known for his agility, quick reflexes, and solid puck-handling skills. Last season, Jarry demonstrated commendable performance metrics, including a save percentage of .917 and a goals-against average of 2.45. However, Jarry has faced notable struggles in the playoffs and late in the regular season over the past few seasons, raising concerns about his consistency in high-pressure situations. Although Jarry concluded the season tied for first in shutouts, he ended the season playing as a backup behind Alex Nedeljkovic, while the Penguins were pushing for a playoff spot. With salary cap considerations and the need for strategic flexibility, there is ongoing speculation about the possibility of trading Jarry to free up cap space. Consequently, this move could give the Penguins the financial room to address other roster needs.

Jarry is an expensive goaltender. He has an average annual value of $5.375 million against the cap for the next four seasons. This move could provide the Penguins with the financial room to address other roster needs. Trades like the Kevin Hayes acquisition have shown General Manager Kyle Dubas’ desire to utilize cap space for assets. A potential Tristan Jarry trade could have the dual benefits of bringing in assets as well as cap space to acquire more assets.

Alex Nedeljkovic: The Reliable Backup

Backing up Jarry is Alex Nedeljkovic, who joined the team to provide experienced support and a reliable alternative in the net. Nedeljkovic, who posted a .902 save percentage and a 2.97 goals-against average with Pittsburgh last season, showcased excellent play toward the end of the season for the Penguins. Even though they ultimately missed out, his standout performances included a series of crucial games down the stretch that helped secure vital points for the team that put them in the playoff hunt. Nedeljkovic’s late-season surge demonstrated his capability to step up in critical moments. He provided much-needed depth and stability to the Pittsburgh Penguins goaltending lineup. Heading into next season, it is likely Nedeljkovic will be given more starts to create a tandem in Pittsburgh.

Nedeljkovic’s play in the 2023-2024 season earned him a two-year contract making $2.5 million per year against the salary cap, falling in line with similar comparables such as Anthony Stolarz in Toronto. Stolarz got an identical two-year contract at $2.5 million. Nedeljkovic’s contract provides terrific value to a Penguins team looking to return to contention before their core stars retire. His lower cap hit could allow Dubas to acquire talent at other positions for the Penguins.

Joel Blomqvist: The Emerging Talent

One of the most exciting prospects in the Penguins system is Joel Blomqvist, a young goaltender with significant potential chosen in the second round of the 2020 NHL entry draft. Blomqvist has shown promise in the minors, posting a save percentage of .921 and a goals-against average of 2.16 last season in the American Hockey League. His development could offer the Penguins an intriguing alternative. Moreover, a tandem of Nedeljkovic and Blomqvist could provide both stability and cap relief, making it a viable option should the Penguins decide to trade Jarry. Blomqvist earned himself many awards in the AHL last season as well, including a nod on the AHL All-Rookie Team and being present at the AHL All-Star Game. The potential tandem would combine Nedeljkovic’s experience with Blomqvist’s youthful energy and talent, potentially setting up a dynamic goaltending duo for the future.

With a two-way contract making just $925,000 against the cap for the next two seasons, Blomqvist would provide incredible value in a back-up role. Being able to replace Jarry’s 5 million dollar cap hit with Blomqvist’s 925,000 would provide Kyle Dubas with further flexibility to construct the rest of the lineup.

Concluding Thoughts

The Pittsburgh Penguins goaltending situation for the 2024-2025 season is precarious. Tristan Jarry remains a proven asset early in the regular season. However, he also has a track record of faltering under pressure. The strategic possibility of a Nedeljkovic and Blomqvist tandem offers an intriguing alternative. As the season unfolds, the decisions made in the crease will play a pivotal role in the Penguins success. Blomqvist likely sees NHL games this season, as the Penguins did not acquire a third-stringer to play behind Jarry and Nedeljkovic heading into the season. Blomqvist’s performances in these games could impress the Penguins organization enough to give him a chance at the NHL level as a backup. This would allow Kyle Dubas and the Penguins to shop Jarry for assets elsewhere.

Main Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


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