The Experiment Is Over: Thomas Greiss Needs To Go


Thomas Greiss has been under intense scrutinization ever since he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins during last offseason. He joined the team on a $1 million/1 year deal and thankfully that is all the Penguins agreed to pay him. The Penguins were optimistic when he was first signed because of his strong season with the Arizona Coyotes the year before, but that optimism has quickly evaporated. Last season Thomas Greiss played in 25 games in Arizona where he finished with a 10-8-5 record, a .920 save percentage and a 2.29 GAA. 

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This season with the Pittsburgh Penguins has been quite a different animal. Thomas Greiss’ numbers look like this 13 games played in, 6-3-3 with a .906 save percentage and a 2.88 GAA. If those numbers do not tell you something is wrong, check this out Greiss does not have a shutout this season. He has only allowed 1 goal three times, let in 3 goals five times, 4 goals three times and 5 goals once. At the start of the season Thomas Greiss’ statistics and play on the ice gave Penguins fans hope that he was the answer. However, as the season has progressed we have seen Thomas Greiss slowly heading down the path of former goaltender Brent Johnson. The difference is now, my sources have told me, there is not anyone inside the Penguins organization that feels any loyalty towards Thomas Greiss.

The fundamental problem with Thomas Greiss remaining the backup for starter Marc-Andre Fleury, is that if Fleury falters the Penguins do as well. At the very minimum a backup goaltender should be able to step in an play well enough to keep their team in contention, does Thomas Greiss do that? Sadly that answer is no. Maybe the reason why Fleury’s workload has been so great (43 games played of 55 games possible) is because head coach Mike Johnston does not trust Thomas Greiss. If I were in his shoes, I would not trust Greiss either.

Apr 13, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff (37) guards the net against the Ottawa Senators during the overtime period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Senators won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Right now Marc-Andre Fleury is on pace to play 64 games which is actually a normal workload for “The Flower” but he should not play that many games. Fleury has played over 60 games six times in his career and the Stanley Cup victory year (2009-2010) he actually played 62 regular season games. The difference is that Fleury is now 30 years old, he is no longer the same kid who won the Stanley Cup in his early twenties. I whole heartedly believe that the primary reason Fleury has been less than stellar in the postseason recently has been his excessive regular season workload.

Thomas Greiss was brought to Pittsburgh as an insurance plan to protect the Penguins against another meltdown by Fleury and to also reduce his workload. Since putting on the black and gold sweater, Thomas Greiss has not accomplished either of those things. So what is the solution? An immediate option would be to send Thomas Greiss to the WBS Penguins and bring Jeff Zatkoff up. I know people were critical of Zatkoff last year but considering it was the first 20 NHL games of his career, he performed well enough. With a season under his belt I think Zatkoff could come up to the Penguins and prove many people wrong, but at least give him a shot because Greiss is not working out.

If the Penguins decide that is not the best course of action, I could easily see them using a trade to address their goaltending woes. One thing is for certain, Thomas Greiss needs to either step up his play or leave Pittsburgh.