Pittsburgh Penguins history: Revisiting the top first 50 games from goalies

Tristan Jarry has been a revelation for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. However, he hasn’t been the only Penguins goalie in franchise history to make an impact early in his career.

On Jan. 7, 2020, goaltender Tristan Jarry made his 50th career appearance for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jarry has had an exceptional season thus far, keeping the Penguins afloat while the team has dealt with a litany of injuries to its core players.

With usual starting goaltender Matt Murray struggling to regain his championship form, Jarry has provided strong support in goal. Jarry has led the league in several different statistical categories and earned an appearance in the 2020 NHL All-Star game.

While we wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds, here is a look at five Penguins goaltenders with the best goals-against average through their first 50 games.

5. Johan Hedberg

Johan Hedberg was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 9th round (218th overall) of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Notable Penguins selected in the draft included; Chris Wells (24th), Richard Park (50th), Sven Butchenson (57th), and Greg Crozier (73rd).

Hedberg’s rights were traded to the San Jose Sharks by the Flyers in 1998 for a 7th round pick in the 1999 entry draft. On Mar. 12, 2001, San Jose traded Hedberg and Bobby Dollas to Pittsburgh for Jeff Norton.

In his first 50 regular-season games with the Penguins during 2000-01 (9) and 2001-02 season (41), Hedberg compiled a record of 26-19-5, a goals-against-average of 2.55% and six shutouts. Hedberg’s 50th game with the Penguins occurred on Mar. 11, 2002, a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

On August 23, 2003, the Penguins traded Hedberg to the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick the 2004 entry draft (Alex Goligoski).

4. Tristan Jarry

The Penguins selected Jarry in the 2nd round (44th overall) of the 2013 NHL entry draft and added another impact player, Jake Guentzel with the 77th pick. Jarry’s first 50 games with Pittsburgh have been peppered over parts of four seasons (one in 2016-17, 26 in 2017-18, two in 2018-19 and 21 in 2019-20).

Through 50 games, his record as of writing was 28-14-4 with a goals-against-average of 2.49% and five shutouts. His 50th career game occurred on Jan. 7, 2020, a 4-3 victory over the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

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3. Peter Skudra

Peter Skudra was signed as a free agent by the Penguins on Sept. 25, 1997. His first 50 games with the Penguins were split between 1997-98 (17) and 1998-99 (33) seasons, where he made a career-high 37 appearances during the latter campaign. Skudra’s record was 21-13-8 with a goals-against-average of 2.44% and three shutouts.

Skudra’s 50th game with the club occurred on Mar. 30, 1999, a 6-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Pittsburgh let Skudra enter free agency following the 2002-2003 season.

2. Jean-Sebastien Aubin

Jean-Sebastien Aubin was drafted by the Penguins in the third round (76th overall) of the 1995 Entry Draft, alongside Alexei Morozov (24th) and Jan Hrdina (128th). Aubin’s first 50 games with Pittsburgh were spread over parts of two seasons from 1998-99 (17) and 1999-2000 (33), his record was 20-16-7 with a goals-against-average of 2.39% and four shutouts

Aubin’s 50th game with the Penguins occurred on Feb. 19, 2000, a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Aubin provided P through the 2003-2004 season, where he averaged 25 games per season while with the club.

1. Matt Murray

The Penguins selected Murray with the 83rd pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Other notable players Pittsburgh selected in the draft were Derrick Pouliot (8th), Olli Maatta (22nd), Teddy Blueger (52nd) and Oskar Sundqvist (81st).

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Murray’s record through his first 50 games with Pittsburgh was 33-10-4, with five shutouts and a goals-against-average of 2.21%. His 50th game with the club was a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Mar. 3, 2017. Did any of the names on the list surprise you? Share your comments below.

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