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The Penguins retained their key free agents this past offseason, most notably Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

But GM Ron Hextall faces another challenge this coming summer when goaltender Tristan Jarry hits free agency.

Jarry, 27, is in the final season of a three-year, $3.5 million contract. Jari is playing well. his .922 save percentage ranks third in the NHL. His goals-against average of 2.63 is tied for 10th. Jarry’s record is 14-3-3. He is 10-0-1.

More than stats, Jarry passes the eye test. His positioning and platform work were sublime. When Jarry is at the top of his crease, he’s golden.

But Jarry has never won a playoff series. He played more than one game in a playoff series just once. It was 2021 against the New York Islanders, and his slight turnover in double overtime in Game 5 cost the Penguins that first-round series.

Should the Penguins extend Jarry? He wants more than $6 million per six-year contract. That would put him among the 10 highest paid NHL goaltenders.

The Penguins probably don’t have a choice.

There is no ready-made successor in the Penguins system. There really aren’t 32 qualified starting goaltenders in the NHL. That position is currently vacant. Who will replace Jari?

So the Penguins will likely keep Jarry.

But they are shaping up like the Steelers. spending big to keep intact a team that hasn’t made a playoff impact in a long time.

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