It’s something we’ve all been guilty of at one point or another: saying negative things about Marc-Andre Fleury. Not that the criticism isn’t deserved. The Pittsburgh Penguins netminder has had his issues in the last couple of years, particularly in the postseason. However, it isn’t time to give up on Fleury quite yet.
Fleury has been a primary reason for the playoff eliminations that the Penguins have seen over the course of the last few years. The fact that they haven’t won a Stanley Cup in any of the last few seasons, despite being favored to do so for a good majority of the time, isn’t all on him, but he does take the lion’s share of the blame.
There’s little doubt that Fleury is among the best regular season goaltenders anywhere in the league. You could make the argument that as long as the games only count in the standings, and not in a seven-game series, Fleury is one of the very best between the pipes.
Fleury’s goals against average for his career is a very solid 2.66. His career save percentage of .910 isn’t terrific, but he can thank a couple of early years of struggle for that figure. Nonetheless, this is a guy who isn’t going to be mistaken for the league’s top goaltender, but he’s definitely in the upper tier.
His regular season performance gives a pretty strong indicator as to why it’s not time for the Penguins to give up on him quite yet. He’s proven that he’s physically capable of sustaining success. At this point, it seems to be more of a mental hurdle that he needs to get over than anything.
The Penguins sent Fleury to a sports psychologist this summer. Perhaps that will give him the mental edge he needs. If not, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere for a solution in net, which the Penguins do have, both behind Fleury and in the minors. But at least one more year certainly seems to be in order before we can call it quits on his career as a starter in Pittsburgh.