Welcome to another WHL Best of the 2010s feature where we profile the best WHL players from the 2009-10 season all the way to the 2019-20 season. Players are judged based on what they did in each division. This means if a player spent time in multiple divisions, their placement will be judged based on what they did separately while in each division. Don’t forget to vote on our Twitter page, @WHLonA51 to help determine which player will be crowned the best WHL player of the 2010s. We hope you enjoy.
There’s little question of the impact Tristan Jarry has had on the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he proved he deserved the position of starter long before he ever reached the NHL.
He had an inauspicious beginning, though. Jarry played only 14 games his first year with the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2011-12 WHL season, posting a .894 save percentage while backing up Laurent Brossoit. The 16-year-old didn’t let that rattle him, though, and the experience was invaluable to him going into his second season. He was given more time in the net then and played 27 games, leading the league with a .936 save percentage and a 1.61 goals-against average.
His coaches and teammates praised him for his level head, cool demeanour, and work ethic. In his first season as the starting goalie, Jarry broke multiple records, playing 63 games (second in the WHL) and winning 44 of them. He also posted eight shutouts and had a 2.24 goals-against average (first in the league).
Jarry’s style between the pipes has been described as more ‘old-school’, with less calculated movement and more spontaneity and improvisation. This makes it harder for an attacking player to predict his responses but requires a consistent, developed foundation, solid skating, and unshakeable confidence many find difficult to master. In a league relying more and more on height and breadth in net, Jarry focused on those intangible gifts and didn’t let his leaner build define him.
It worked for him, and the Pittsburgh Penguins noticed. They selected him in the second round of the 2013 NHL draft and signed him to a three-year deal. Jarry went on to justify their faith in him by being named Goalie of the Week on multiple occasions by the CHL, invited to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team in 2013, and dubbed the Oil Kings’ MVP in both 2014 and 2015. He was also named to the SUBWAY Super Series in 2013 and 2014 and the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 2015, as well as being a finalist for WHL Goalie of the Year in 2014 and 2015.
In Jarry’s final year with the Edmonton Oil Kings, he posted a .907 save percentage and 2.74 goals-against average and broke several more records. These included surpassing Laurent Brossoit, the man he once took a backseat to, in career games played by a goaltender (159), overall wins (93), and career saves (3,786). But despite everything, he never let it go to his head, staying humble no matter how many awards he collected or records he smashed. He paired an old-school class with an old-school game and proved he was just getting started on a truly impressive career.