Marc-Andre Fleury Continues His MVP Performance For The Pittsburgh Penguins


In early November 2014 Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford signed Marc-Andre Fleury to a contact extension of 4-years, $23 million. At the time, it was a head-turning move considering the knock on Fleury’s ability to perform in the post season and mental lapses in big-game situations. However, since that extension Fleury has put together a career year that has team MVP written all over it.

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It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, or Kris Letang being mentioned as team MVP for the Pittsburgh Penguins. But, Marc-Andre Fleury has been the biggest reason for the Penguins success this season, and it’s evidenced in the numbers. Below are a few of Fleury’s stats and how he stacks up against the rest of the NHL (via

Wins – 32 (6th)   GAA – 2.21 (8th)   SV % – .923 (10th)   Shutouts – 9 (tied for 1st)

As you’ll see, on the surface they reflect a moderately strong showing for the 30-year old goaltender. Of course, his shutout total is extremely impressive as he’s tied only with Carey Price who has been a mainstay in Hart trophy considerations due to the exceptional season he’s having. He also now holds the single-season shutout record for the Pittsburgh Penguins, previously held by Tom Barrasso. Barrasso recorded seven shutouts in 1997-98 in a very impressive season for the veteran net-minder.

Believe it or not, his shutout total isn’t his most impressive stat line, at least not in my opinion. Let’s take a look at where Marc-Andre Fleury truly separates himself from the pack.

What Marc-Andre Fleury has done for the penalty kill this season is nothing short of heroic.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “your goalie has to be your best penalty killer”. It’s repeated numerous times during broadcasts and in hockey circles. What Marc-Andre Fleury has done for the penalty kill this season is nothing short of heroic. The Penguins are currently the 2nd ranked PK in the league at 85.6%. A lot of credit is given to players like Craig Adams and Rob Scuderi for being what folks like to call “PK specialists”. The problem with that notion is that it’s a myth with no factual backing, and the true PK specialist is wearing number 29 between the goal pipes.

The Pittsburgh Penguins rank 28th in shots-against per 60 minutes while shorthanded. In other words, they’re the third worst team in the NHL for shots allowed while killing penalties. And while you’ll always have a low CF% and FF% while on the PK, the Penguins are ranked 27th and 25th respectively. So, again, they are spending a lot more time in their zone than most teams in the league. So, how does a team that is this bad at clearing their zone and suppressing shots ranked 2nd in the NHL on the penalty kill?

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The Penguins rank 1st overall in shorthanded save percentage with a 91.39%. They are also 4th in the league for goals-against per 60 minutes while shorthanded averaging 5.12. What does this tell us? Marc-Andre Fleury is Superman, and he’s single-handily sky rocketing this penalty kill’s success rate. It surprises me how little his impact on that unit is discussed, while so much undeserved credit is given elsewhere.

When free agency started and Jim Rutherford signed Thomas Greiss to play the role of backup goalie in Pittsburgh, rumors ran rampant that Greiss was Fleury’s replacement. The social media proclaimed Fleury-haters were out in full force calling for Greiss to be the guy. Since then, I’m happy to say that those talks have all but disappeared, and I believe that Penguin fans are truly appreciative of what Fleury has done for this team. Without him, the Pens are likely on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in. Will he have an impressive playoff performance like he did just one year ago? Will he revert to his 2012 self and implode at the hands of a division rival? Only time will tell. But, it’s clear that at least for now, Marc-Andre Fleury is the team MVP for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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