After struggling considerably in the 2021 postseason, Tristan Jarry had a pretty simple objective going into the ensuing offseason.
“I will be better,” the Penguins’ top goaltender vowed after losing to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2021 playoffs.
He had a very different pursuit this past offseason.
Just getting his right foot healthy.
After being injured April 14, Jarry missed the final six games of the regular season and the first six games of the postseason.
His lone game in the playoffs was a gutsy effort in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of a first-round series. After the game, Jarry limped badly into the media room, favoring his right foot that was covered with an ice bag.
On Thursday, during the first day of on-ice activities at Penguins training camp, Jarry offered a few more details about his malady.
“After the playoffs, I still couldn’t put my skate on for almost another month,” Jarry said. “I basically played with a broken foot. I was only three weeks into my rehab at that point when I got to play. Virtually, it didn’t heal in that time. It’s something that I did what I could and did the best that I could with what I had. It was just getting healthy over the summer and adapting my game to what happened and getting it back to 100%.”
Jarry indicated it took him over a month after losing to the Rangers to get medical clearance to resume typical workouts.
“It was something that didn’t heal as quick as I expected,” Jarry said. “It was something that I had to take really good care of and do treatment on and a lot of therapy. It will help me this year, and it will make me stronger.”
Had the Penguins defeated the Rangers and advanced, the team would have likely returned to reserve goaltender Louis Domingue who had played in the first six games of the first-round series.
“The plan ultimately was for me to play Game 7 and take more time off,” Jarry said. “Then play again, hopefully, later in the second round. The ultimate plan wasn’t for me to play until Round 3 and 4. Just coming back for that Game 7 was something that I wanted to do. I wanted to give the team a chance. I wanted to leave everything out there and try to make it to Round 2.”
A two-time All-Star, Jarry explained the mechanical issues of playing such a technically dependent position.
“You have to watch when you go into your post for the first little bit,” Jarry said. “You have to make sure it’s strong enough to be able to get up and down with that side. And to be able to push hard into that. Your foot and your ankle is a huge mechanic the goalie uses. Just being able to get used to that, being able to slowly integrate that back into your game and getting that back to 100% when you can.”
Jarry is fully recovered and enters the 2022-23 season as the team’s unquestioned starter. It remains to be seen what his future with the club is beyond this season, however.
A pending unrestricted free agent, Jarry was curt but optimistic when discussing his contractual status.
“If that’s something that we could do, if that’s something that we could agree on, that would be awesome,” said Jarry, who is entering the final year of a three-year contract with a salary-cap hit of $3.5 million.
As far as affairs on the ice, it’s status quo for Jarry.
“I think it’s just business as usual,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s a real good goalie. He prepares hard for training camp. You know, it was unfortunate the circumstance last year when got hurt the way he did. But that’s hockey. It’s part of the game, and you’ve got to find ways to fight through that stuff. You can control where you can, and you can’t really get overly concerned about the things you can’t.
“I know he’s motivated. He wants to help this team. He wants to help his team achieve. And I believe he’s very capable of that.”
Note: Defensive prospect Nolan Collins, a sixth-round pick (No. 167 overall) in this year’s draft, participated in practice wearing a noncontact jersey. He participated in the team’s rookie camp over the previous week in the same capacity.
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .