It was the main reason the penguins survived injury problems that rivaled the worst in the league and drowned them out in just a few seasons. Gary was a mid-season All-Star with a savings ratio of over 0.930, a goal-versus-average that was under 2.00. He finished the race at 0.919 and 2.42.
Most importantly, Gary was unbeatable when the Penguin needed him. Unlike his predecessor, Matt Murray, Gary did not have a rapid rise to the NHL. The organization forced him to take every chance, and the fourth-round pick overtook Murray Gary, the 2013 runner-up.
Tristan Gary, 27, will also be a free agent next summer and only one of two netminders under 34 who will be from the NFL. Alex Nedeljkovic is another potential UFA closest to his AARP draft day.
Jonathan Quick will be thirty-seven, Simon Varlamov thirty-five, and Frederick Anderson thirty-four. This is the upcoming summer at the UFA. No, it won’t be a bountiful crop for anything but temporary glitches and goalkeepers turning into retirement.
The current price is already going up.
Photo of the Penguins’ salary cap full of cash for 2023-24. The Penguins have $62.5 million allocated to 16 players for 2023-24. This means that the team will get a lot of cover space.
After GM Ron Hextall bet heavily on the present to get Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin on contract and at market value, the team couldn’t afford to sacrifice the present with a choppy guard or a goalkeeper who wasn’t ready yet.
Joel Blomqvist and Philip Lindberg will be the two goalkeepers who could eventually replace Gary, although that’s a tough one. Gary is well above average in most measurable statistics.
Last season, Gary had a GSAA (Above Average Goals Saved) 21.1, which ranked seventh in the NHL. This put him ahead of the best goalkeeper in the league, Andrei Vasilevsky, and significantly ahead of other star goalkeepers such as Sergey Bobrovsky and Konor Helbeck. Gary was behind Frederic Andersen and Jusso Sarros in the GSAA class.
Now, about the playoffs…
As PHN reported during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first-round loss to the New York Rangers, Gary was adamant that he play. Not only did the goalkeeper play Game 7 with an injured foot completely wrapped in ice after the match, but sources close to Gary told us that the goalkeeper should press for a start.
Let the coaches know about it for him Net, so wanted.
This kind of behavior and leadership goes a long way with his teammates. It was a distinct selling point for Murray.
Last summer, Andersen, 32, signed a two-year, $9 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes after absorbing much of the blame for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round collapse.
Saros is a much better comparison. Last summer, the goalkeeper (then 26 years old) signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Nashville Predators.
Two years ago, John Gibson (then 27) signed an eight-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks, worth $6.4 million. Matt Murray also earned just $6 million for four years at the age of 27.
This relates to the current current rate, as well as inflation. As the NHL salary cap is rising, so are housing prices, gas prices, food prices, the cost of cars and everything else, Gary is in the $6-7 million range over five to seven years.
My neighbor settled as a professional. His longer path to the NHL proved more beneficial to creating a strong goalkeeper than the highway that Matt Murray rode to the Stanley Cup. After a few years working with the WBS Penguins, Gary had two seasons as an undisputed starter, the third if it included the season in which he beat Murray, two All-Star games, two campaigns with top 10 Vesina votes (seventh in 2020 and 2022), and the trust of his teammates.
Penguins couldn’t do better. So, why try?
The salary cap will also rise for 2023-24, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hextals more room to work. The worst thing that could happen is a big capital appreciation, and some teams find themselves with unexpected money to spend and a need in the network.
And if Bloomqvist or Lindbergh skips Gary, as Murray did for Florey and Gary for Murray, Hextall will have a shiny trading chip in high demand.
It’s a win for the penguins. They can’t even let my neighbor get a whiff of free agency. While the ballpoint still has some ink and the conference room is clean from a handful of other re-signs, Hextall should put in a good show in front of Tristan Jarry and close it as well.
It’s not as though the Penguins could waste any of their next few years with Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Chris Letang as they set up another goalkeeper or settle on UFA scraps.