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Pens GM Rutherford makes surprising comments on Jarry following AHL demotion

Wow… the veteran GM has made his decision on the youngster’s future.

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In case you missed it, the Pittsburgh Penguins officially assigned goaltender Tristan Jarry to the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins yesterday.

This news obviously points to the return of injured Penguins goaltender Matt Murray, but more than that it points to the team’s plans for the backup role, which to this point has been split between Jarry and Casey DeSmith. With Jarry going down, is DeSmith officially the backup now in Pittsburgh?

In fact, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford admitted as much in discussion with The Athletic’s Josh Yohe yesterday. 

Check it out:

Interesting. So DeSmith will back up Murray the rest of the way and, barring injury, Jarry will get a chance to be a legitimate starter in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. 

For what it’s worth, Jarry has shone at the AHL level this season, putting up a 6-2-0 record in eight starts while posting a 2.60 goals against average and .914 save percentage. By comparison DeSmith has a 2.73 goals against average and .910 save percentage in 27 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season.

Jarry has gotten the lion’s share of starts during Murray’s absences in Pittsburgh this season with 26 to DeSmith’s 12. But, with just 10 games left in the regular season and a guaranteed spot in the AHL’s Calder Cup playoffs, it makes sense to get Jarry some playing time down the stretch. 

Former Penguins All-Star has passed away at age 67

The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that former three-time NHL All-Star Greg Polis has passed away.

Polis, a former 1st round pick (7th overall) of the Penguins in 1970 played 615 games in the NHL split between the Penguins, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers and Washington Capitals put up 174 goals and 343 points.

The Westlock, Alberta native represented the Penguins in three NHL All-Star games, winning MVP honors in 1973. RIP, Greg. Gone, but never forgotten.

Report: Islanders make a controversial move that could cost them Tavares

Multiple sources are reporting today that New York Islanders head coach Doug Weight has elected to move superstar captain and pending unrestricted free-agent John Tavares from his natural center position to a spot on the wing, alongside rookie phenom Matthew Barzal and Jordan Eberle.

Interesting indeed. Is this just a sign of desperation from the Islanders? After all, the team has just about a 2% mathematical chance of qualifying for the playoffs… could this just be Weight making change simply for the sake of change?

Regardless, several analysts and fans seem to feel that this could be a fatal move for the team in regards to retaining their superstar captain long-term.

Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos first reported on the potential for friction between the two sides last night during the Saturday Headlines segment of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast.

“A lot of eyebrows being raised in terms of Tavares being moved out of his natural position at center, to moving to the wing with Barzal tomorrow night in Carolina,” said Kypreos.

“I can also tell you that there’s a feeling that the Islanders did Tavares no favours at deadline in terms of getting him the necessary players to push for the playoffs,” he continued.

And here’s the kicker:

“It almost feels like things are starting to feel like this thing is snowballing a bit away for Tavares and the Islanders.”

Ouch. If you’re an Islanders fan, the worst potential scenario may be about to unfold. Obviously the Islanders retained Tavares in an effort to qualify for the playoffs and then re-sign him to a long-term deal. Now, the playoffs look like a pipe dream and the coaching staff is messing with Tavares’ hold on the top center position? What a mess…

If you’re Tavares and you’ve got over a dozen other teams out there waiting to write you a blank check… why on earth would you re-sign with the Islanders?