Edmonton Journal

Oil Kings looking good in goal

Veteran Jarry still gets the bulk of playing time for Edmonton


Tristan Jarry is obviously the Edmonton Oil Kings’ No. 1 goaltender, but backup Patrick Dea is pushing the fourth-year veteran for starts.

While Jarry, 19, has played in 29 of the Oil Kings’ 37 games — including both Western Hockey League losses during the weekend’s home-and-home series with the Red Deer Rebels — Dea has impressed head coach Steve Hamilton.

The 17-year-old rookie from St. Albert has a 5-2-1 record in 11 appearance­s, strengthen­ed by a 31-save performanc­e in a 3-1 win over the Calgary Hitmen on Dec. 17 that sent the Oil Kings into the Christmas break on a winning note.

“He’s in the conversati­on every night to start, which is a testament to him,” Hamilton said following the Oil Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday night at Rexall Place. “Patty’s got to earn his starts, and Tristan has to do the same. Certainly, Patrick has made a case for himself.”

Both goaltender­s’ statistics hover around a 2.80 goalsagain­st average and .905 save percentage.

But Jarry is only 11-14-4 this season, already equalling his entire regular-season loss total in 2013-14, when he compiled a record of 44-14-3 while playing in 63 of the 72 regular-season games.

Jarry made 26 saves in both weekend games against the Rebels, but couldn’t protect Sunday’s 1-0 lead, built on Andrew Koep’s secondperi­od goal, when Red Deer’s Conner Bleackley scored twice in the last 11-1/2 minutes. The Rebels also got an empty-net goal.

Having two goalies who are deserving of starting games is a favourable situation for the Oil Kings.

“It’s great to have Patty behind me and it’s great when he gets to play games to show what he has,” said Jarry, who was a second-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 NHL entry draft.

“It’s good to have that healthy competitio­n in practice, where we both want to beat one another.”

With the WHL trade deadline looming on Jan. 10, it’s possible that the Oil Kings could deal one of their goalies to build for the future after a sharp regression from last season, when they won the league title and the Memorial Cup.

Edmonton general manager Randy Hansch and Hamilton are not going to rush into making a move like that.

“Certainly, we have to evaluate where we’re at now and do the math with what we think is the most prudent thing for the future,” Hamilton said. “It certainly is coming closer to that time of the year and we’ve got a few weeks to evaluate the situation.”

The Oil Kings are currently in fifth place in the Central Division with a 16-16-5 record for 37 points. They are still in the running for the playoffs, sitting eighth overall in the Eastern Conference.

Hamilton said the situation this year is more delicate with the possibilit­y of moving some key players from last season’s championsh­ip team.

“It weighs on the players and it’s a tough time for our organizati­on because we’ve got a lot of loyalty to guys here that have been really good to us and helped us win a Memorial Cup last season,” said Hamilton.

For Jarry, his loyalty will remain with the Oil Kings until he’s told otherwise.

“It’s not something I’m too worried about,” he said. “My team’s here with the Oil Kings and whatever happens, happens.” jumbach@edmontonjo­urnal. com Twitter.com/@jamieumbac­h

 ?? AMBER BRACKEN/ EDMONTON JOURNAL ?? Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Tristan Jarry makes a save against Red Deer Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury on Saturday.
AMBER BRACKEN/ EDMONTON JOURNAL Edmonton Oil Kings goalie Tristan Jarry makes a save against Red Deer Rebels defenceman Haydn Fleury on Saturday.

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