Is Eric Hartzell the future goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Although it is way too early to tell, speculation believes the Pens aren’t going to keep Marc-Andre Fleury around.
After benching Fleury following his Game 4 debacle in round one, Tomas Vokoun has played every game since, holdig his own in net for Pittsburgh.
So much so, that the Pens are going to continue to start Vokoun over Fleury.
You got to remember — Fleury is a cup winner already.
Butterflying his way to a Stanley Cup in 2008-09, Fleury was the one who stonewalled the legendary Detroit Red Wings inÂ Joe Louis Arena to give Pittsburgh its first championship in nearly 20 years.
Hartzell doesn’t have anything on his resume as far as the NHL is concerned, but what he did in college suggests the Pens might be considering giving him a opportunity.
Having received nearly every award possible for his performance’ this past season at Quinnipiac University, he compiled a record of 30-7-5 with a 1.57 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.
Leading Quinnipiac to a ECAC regular-season title and a NCAA Frozen Four berth, Hartzell signed on with Pittsburgh in the days following his championship loss to Yale University.
Another reason as to why Hartzell might be a future option is the status of Vokoun.
At 36 years — Vokoun isn’t getting any younger and his contract expires after next season.
But even when Vokoun is out of the picture there still would be the Fleury dilemma.
Currently signed to 7-years for $35 million, the Pens might want to think about dumping Fleury’s salary.
Knowing the team has a plethora of unrestricted free agents to decide on retaining after this season, they’ll still have some high octane players to extend in the near future — so finding a way to relieve Fleury permanently might be needed.
There’s no question the Pens like Hartzell’s upside.
For now he’ll just sit dormant on the Pens bench during their playoff run — but you can bet general manager Ray Shero is already contemplating the situation.
Even if he says he isn’t.