Marc-Andre Fleury was absolutely brilliant in the 2008 and 2009 postseasons.
He even looked as though he would realm as one of the top-3 netminders in the league — if not thee top.
While there is no doubt that Fleury will continue to perform well in the regular-season, his performances in the past two playoffs have left Pens fans wondering if he can even lead them to another Stanley Cup.
In the past three seasons, Fleury has had a save percentage above .912 and GAA under 2.40 — which is substantial.
But lately, his playoff numbers haven’t come anywhere close to his Stanley Cup winning performance in 2009.
When the Penguins were ousted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 NHL Playoffs, Fleury finished the series with a horrendous .834 save percentage and 4.63 GAA.
Slightly better in these past playoffs, he was still stripped of his starting gig due to his terrible .883 save percentage and 3.52 GAA in just five contests.
Although all signs were pointing to the 28-year-old being shipped out of Pittsburgh during the offseason, Fleury was confirmed as starting goaltender for next season by head coach Dan Byslma — illustrating the confidence Pittsburgh still has in him.
And while this may be good news to Fleury, expectations will be higher than ever before in Pittsburgh after their collapse to the Boston Bruins.
With two years left on his contract (average annual value of $5 million) and after recent long-term contract extensions to cornerstone talents (Malkin, Letang, Crosby) — Fleury must really prove his worth to the team.
Should he struggle in the postseason once again, don’t think General Manager Ray Shero will hesistate to either buy his contract out or trade him — especially with the recent additions of goaltending prospects Eric Hartzell and Tristan Jarry.
Although he’s facing a plethora of obstacles — that comes with being a former first overall pick — there’s no excuse for the goaltender to not be able to handle the situation he is in (considering his past achievements).
Should he continue to underperform — changes will be made.
Let’s hope the “Flower” can show he can still bloom.