Somebody Has to Stop the Puck! – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Somebody Has to Stop the Puck!

Of the top 100 drafted players in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, only nine were goaltenders.

Taken at number 83, late in the 3rd round, was the Penguins’ own Matt Murray. To date he has only played 62 NHL games. His career average numbers? A .925 save percentage and a very respectable 2.32 goals against average.

Matt has two Stanley Cups to his name and, at the young age of 23, a cult following that rivals Max Talbot, the hero of our 2009 Cup triumph. What Murray did in 2016, when he came in and saved the season and won the Cup in dramatic fashion will be the subject of sports lore for decades.

Curious about his contemporaries, I did a little research on the nine goalies taken in the top 100 in 2012. You may find this information a little eye opening.

Goaltender Team Draft No. NHL Games Save % GAA
Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay 19th 90 .915 2.60
Malcolm Subban Boston 24th 2 .727 5.81
Anthony Stolarz Philadelphia 45th 7 .928 2.07
Joonas Korpisalo Columbus 62nd 45 .915 2.68
Daniel Altshuller Carolina 69th
Jon Gillies Calgary 75th 1 .964 1.00
Jake Paterson Detroit 80th
Matt Murray Pittsburgh 83rd 62 .925 2.32
Frederik Andersen* Anaheim/Toronto 87th 191 .918 2.45
* Andersen, who currently plays for Toronto, was originally drafted in 2010 (187th overall) by Carolina. Unable to come to terms with the Hurricanes, he was then drafted 87th overall by Anaheim in 2012.

From this brief summary, it is very apparent that goaltenders usually take longer to reach the NHL than forwards or defensemen.

With Murray firmly secured in the starting role for the Pens, I wanted to explore the Pens’ minor-league depth in goal. Since he was also drafted in 2012, I’ll start with Sean McGuire. McGuire, the tenth goalie selected that year (113th overall), has been hampered with concussion issues throughout his brief career. He sat out his last season in college with a serious concussion.

In 2013, the Pens drafted Tristan Jarry 45th overall. He was the second goaltender taken that year. Montreal selected Zach Fucale 36th overall. In 2015-16, Fucale played 42 games in the American Hockey League. In 2016-17, he played 46 games in the East Coast Hockey League. He has yet to play a game in the NHL.

Jarry played one NHL game in 2016-17, the season finale against the New York Rangers. We lost 3-2! Jarry also served as back up for the Pens several times in the regular season and has played in a few exhibition games. Last season he posted a 2.15 GAA and a .925 SV% with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Pens’ management is still very high on Jarry and strongly believe he has a future in the NHL.

In 2016, the Pens drafted Swedish goaltender Filip Gustavsson in the 55th slot. He, too, was the second goalie selected in his draft year. Calgary drafted Tyler Parsons from the London Knights of the OHL at 54th.

Gustavsson was rated the top European goalie prospect of 2016. He plays in the Swedish Elite League for Lulea. He is on loan to the team through the 2017-18 season and therefore he will not be seeing any AHL/NHL action soon (at least for another 16 months).

He played one game in the Under 20 World Junior Championships in 2017 and all five games in the Under 20 Swedish International Championships. He is still very young (19) and highly regarded.

Casey DeSmith, the 25-year-old undrafted free agent who played so well last year for the Baby Pens was rewarded with a new two-year, two-way contract worth $650,000/year at the NHL level.  His 2.01 GAA was the second best in the AHL last year. He surprised a lot of people with his great play in net.

This opens up a friendly competition with Jarry to see who is the true number-one goalie for the Baby Pens in 2017-18 and gives us a lot more depth in this position.

With Murray and Antti Niemi in Pittsburgh and Jarry and DeSmith at Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton—not to mention Gustavsson waiting overseas in Sweden—the Pens are looking very solid in goal.

This is one area where the future looks bright indeed.

Ah, if only our defense looked as good! Along those lines, I would love to have the second overall D-men drafted in 2013 and 2016. Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse sure would look good wearing the black and gold!

Thanks for reading…

Shop.NHL.com Outlet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    July 31, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Hey Jim,

    The Puck stops here, Jim. Goaltending is close to my heart.

    Good article. It often times does take Goalies longer to learn their craft, they tend to peak later in their careers and last longer at the top than most skaters, mainly due to positioning having a greater impact on results.

    Another thing about goalies is that number one picks are rarely that much better than lower round picks, perhaps that may be due to the pressures usually given to a goalie when he is a number one pick, The demand to come in and immediately make an impact could very easily destroy a goalies confidence, no matter how good his skill set was. There have probably been far, far more Gordie Laxton stories than Marc Andre Fleury stories.

    Murray is a perfect example, as you noted he was the 87th over all pick, but at least at this point in his career he is being considered the top young goalie.

    I know I mentioned this at least one time before, the Pens Goalie situation may give them the bargaining chip they need to threepeat or even fix their minor league problem.

    • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
      July 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree Coach.
      The depth in goal gives us some trade bait possibilities.
      Be fun to watch in the coming weeks.

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        July 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        When I think of Colorado and their reliance on Varlamov recovering from what I believe was some sort of lower body surgery and he pushing 30. Thirty is fairly young for a goalie but not so good when talking lower body surgery recovery. They may find themselves coming to the Pens looking to trade us Duchene for one of our kid goalies instead of us asking for Duchene.

        I will not be surprised though if the Pens don’t do anything more than sign Cullen until training camp.

        • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
          July 31, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

          Hey Coach,
          I got a hunch that JR will surprise us and make a trade for the 3rd center and probably pick up a d man in the deal as well. Especially if he has to give up a top 5 d man and maybe Sheary to get the 3 rd center.
          I have no inside knowledge …really everything is quiet Coach, like it always is on July31st….
          Come August 15th a lot can change.


Follow PenguinPoop

Shop.NHL.com Outlet

PenguinPoop Unique Visitors