Jarry Back With WBS
WILKES-BARRE — Tristan Jarry knew his arrival in
Wilkes-Barre was imminent.
The Pittsburgh staff told him as much.
The 23-year-old goaltender was on the ice for Penguins practice Monday at the Toyota SportsPlex with no hard feelings after he was reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday. Jarry battled Casey DeSmith for the backup spot with the NHL club, but the fact he didn’t require waivers to be sent down sealed his fate from the get-go.
“It’s a business, and they have to make business decisions,” Jarry said. “That was one of the decisions we made is I didn’t need waivers, so if it can be that I’d be the person going down. They told me that from the start. So, it was good to have that communication. It definitely made it easier.”
Jarry will slot in as the Penguins’ top goaltender ahead of the team’s road trip to Cleveland this week, according to head coach Clark Donatelli.
“(Jarry’s) going to play,” Donatelli added. “We’re going to monitor his games, but he’s going to get a lot of them as long as he stays healthy.”
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also has Anthony Peters and John Muse on its roster, and the short-term plan is to carry all three. Peters is most likely to stay if a cut is eventually needed; he made 30 saves and three shootout stops in the team’s 3-2 win over Springfield in the season opener.
Jarry split last season between the AHL and NHL, returning to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the final month of the season and the team’s short stay in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He struggled a bit, posting the highest goals-against average (3.05) of his three-year professional tenure, but his track record as a 54-game AHL winner and former all-star make his presence a huge boost for the Penguins.
The Surrey, British Columbia, native was designated as injured nonroster by Pittsburgh last week with a minor leg injury, but he feels “back to 100 percent.”
Even if it didn’t lead to a spot with the team, Jarry said his extended time in Pittsburgh’s camp will benefit him going forward.
“I think it’s good to be at that caliber and always play at a high pace,” Jarry said. “I think that will be good for me coming down here. It will keep me prepared and keep me ready for what’s to come.”
No pressure, rookie
Penguins defenseman Matt Abt said he definitely gripped his stick a little tighter than usual Saturday night.
Debuting in the American Hockey League — on opening night, no less — can have that effect.
“I was really excited,” Abt said after practice Monday. “I was a little bit nervous, too. ... I think as the game went on, I eased in and felt a little better.”
The 6-foot-4 blueliner fit nicely in the Penguins’ victory at Mohegan Sun Arena. Paired with third-year Wilkes-Barre/Scranton player Ethan Prow, Abt recorded one shot on goal and a plus-1 rating.
It was the latest highlight in a memorable two-week span for Abt, who made the team’s roster out of training camp and received an AHL contract the day before the game. He signed with Wheeling during the summer.
The RIT product stood out during the Penguins’ three preseason games, scoring in the opener against Lehigh Valley and frequently jumping in on offensive rushes. He said having that experience definitely helped him catch up to the speed of play Saturday, but he still identified areas where he can improve.
“(Playing in those games) helps with comfort level and confidence, for sure,” he said. “(Assistant coach) J.D. (Forrest) has been helping a lot. He’s been constantly talking on the bench and in practice, so I’ve been trying to absorb and learn how the play forms in the American League and just kind of trying to build and get better.”
With his skating and passing ability and toughness, Abt has a skill set the coaching staff likes, and his emergence has been a pleasant surprise to begin the season.
“It’s a good foundation to work with,” Donatelli said. “We’re excited. We really didn’t know much about him (to begin camp). But he’s made an impression, for sure, and there’s a lot to work with there.”
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