Marc-Andre Fleury is the most polarizing player on the Pittsburgh Penguins today. Known for his eye popping saves, Fleury has been the Penguins starting goaltender for the last nine seasons.
Since being drafted in 2003 at first overall, Marc-Andre Fleury has not only been an NHL All Star but backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2007-2008 Cup finals and 2008-2009 Stanley Cup victory.
After accomplishing so much throughout his career, Fleury (29 years old) is in the final year of his contract. Pittsburgh Penguins ownership had made it clear during the offseason that the man known as “The Flower” would not receive a new contract until the end of the season.
With his recent play, specifically in the playoffs, being rather shaky, people had began to wonder if Marc-Andre Fleury would still remain with the team after this season. Especially, when new GM Jim Rutherford signed Thomas Greiss in the offseason, doubts began to emerge.
Now Rutherford has went on record and stated that as long as he is the GM, Fleury will remain the Pittsburgh Penguins netminder.
While in the short term this is most likely best for the team, Rutherford cannot sign Marc-Andre Fleury to a long extension. If you remember from the offseason when Rutherford was hired he publicly stated he would only remain with the Penguins for two or three years. Provided Rutherford follows his prediction, the Pittsburgh Penguins cannot afford to have Marc-Andre Fleury signed to a long term deal. Rutherford should, at the end of the year, evaluate Fleury’s recent play and give him a short term extension and possibly a slight raise.
If Rutherford does not leave the team in a few seasons, there will be a backup at the goaltender position. 2013 second round draft pick (44th overall) Tristan Jarry, is the Penguins future in between the pipes. While he needs a few more seasons to develop, Jarry will eventually takeover for Marc-Andre Fleury. Which is why if Rutherford, on his way out the door signs Fleury to a long term deal, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a problem.
Marc-Andre Fleury’s recent faults in the playoffs, have become a black mark on his career and could potentially remain an issue. Regardless of how good Fleury may be during the regular season, it is the post season that matters the most.
So while Marc-Andre Fleury may remain the Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender for the next few seasons, do not expect to see him with the team more than four years from now.