The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a rather scary situation on their hands recently, regarding the health of backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who has reportedly dealt with some pretty serious issues related to a blood clot in his pelvis. Which has left the Penguins without an answer behind Marc-Andre Fleury.
The good news is that Vokoun will be back at some point, there just isn’t a timetable. In the short term for the Penguins, though, they are faced with finding a new second option. Vokoun served as a contingency in the event that Fleury continued to melt down like he has in the last couple of years. Now they have no such option.
Rather than go out and sign one of the veteran backups on the market, such as Jose Thedore, the Penguins are expected to roll with Jeff Zatkoff as their no. 2 goaltender. This gives them a backup with virtually no experience at this level, as he’s never made a start with the Pens.
What is does is show that the Penguins do, in fact, have faith in Marc-Andre Fleury. Despite his status as one of the better goaltenders during the regular season, the last couple of playoffs have been rough for MAF. He’s been one of the prime reasons they’ve been able to take home another Stanley Cup.
Which left his future with the club up in the air, to a certain degree, this summer. Despite interest from other teams, the Penguins decided to hold onto him, in what has become something of a make-or-break season for the veteran netminder. The Penguins have shown that they have faith in Fleury, with the way they’ve handled this recent situation.
That should do wonders for Fleury’s confidence, which is (no doubt) part of the reason he has struggled so mightily the last couple of years. We’ll see if the Pens’ decision to not address the backup spot works out, or if it comes back to bite them later on in the year, if Vokoun is unable to return.