2. Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins
Tristan Jarry may not even be the best player at his own position, and he has garnered no buzz as a Vezina Trophy favorite as the NHL’s best goalie, but that doesn’t mean that his value should go unrecognized.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been hit hard by injuries this season, but the player who has been present all year long is the Pittsburgh goaltender. While superstars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, and more have missed time for various reasons, Jarry has been there to keep the Pens firmly in the playoff race.
On the season, Jarry has compiled a 24-8-6 record, 2.21 goals against average, and .925 save percentage. He was rewarded for his well-played season when he was named to his second All-Star Game, where he helped the Metropolitan Division win the tournament.
This season has been a story of redemption for Jarry after last season did not go so well. The postseason was especially poor for the Pittsburgh netminder, but he found his game early in this campaign, and he has not looked back.
His individual strength is a big reason why the Penguins are enjoying such an elite defensive season. The Pens have the second-best penalty kill in the NHL (87.1%) and the third-best defense overall (2.5 goals allowed per game).
Of course, the stars in the ‘Burgh have shone brightly when in the lineup, but if Jarry did not rank in the top-seven in the NHL in goals against average, save percentage, wins, and shutouts, the Penguins would most likely be clinging to a wild card spot.
Instead, they’re enjoying the second spot in the Metro at 29-11-8, and no matter how important Sid and Geno and others are to Pittsburgh’s bid to win the Stanley Cup, Jarry’s heroics have been the biggest reason for the Pens’ regular season success this year.