Following another disappointing playoff run, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been hard at work assembling a Stanley-Cup-winning franchise. One component of the team the Penguins chose not to toy with this offseason — and ultimately take another gamble with — is Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury is a skilled netminder. He possesses a great attitude and he’s a delightful person on and off the ice. Fleury’s not hard to like, until it comes to crunch time. While Fleury had a 0.905 save percentage during the playoffs last season, his save percentage in the playoffs since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009 has been below .900. For some reason, the playoffs seem to give Fleury the heebie-jeebies and he falls apart.
Let me make something clear. I am not pinning all of the Penguins’ postseason failures on Fleury. The Penguins have had numerous issues in the past aside from their goaltender’s lackluster playoff performance. Fortunately, some of these issues have been addressed since the franchise began clearing house and revamping their roster, but Fleury still remains a pivotal problem.
The Penguins have put all their eggs in one basket with Fleury for far too long. Fleury has been given numerous chances, year after year to help the Penguins’ turn their playoff performance around. Managers and coaches have done everything in their power to help Fleury push through the playoffs, but nothing seems to work.
With Fleury’s contract expiring in 2015, it’s safe to say that if he can’t assist his team in bringing another Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh, then he will be let go. Like most fans, I too admire Fleury. I would love to see Fleury prosper and shine like the extraordinary goaltender he is. But if Fleury is holding the Penguins back from winning another cup, then the Penguins need to explore other options and finally put an end to an era.