It’s no secret that Pittsburgh Penguins fans have a love/hate relationship with Marc-Andre Fleury, in the sense that many love to hate him.
But Fleury wasn’t terrible last regular season, nor the year before, posting respectable numbers (.917 EV save percentage) while finishing second in the NHL in wins with 39. He also rebounded nicely in the postseason with a .915 save percentage, the first time he cracked .900 since the Penguins’ Cup victory in 2010.
(Sidenote: Really? Ouch ...)
Fleury is entering the final year of his seven-year, $35 million contract, making a base salary of $5.75 million. He enters it with a new coach and a new general manager, both of whom might want to put their own stamp on the crease.
But GM Jim Rutherford tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Fleury is “one of the most talented goalies in the League and sees him as the long-term solution between the pipes.
“From my point of view, he's our goalie,” Rutherford said. “There's no reason why he can't be our goalie for a long time.”
That said, Rutherford doesn’t plan on inking him before the season, saying he’s “not in a hurry” to sign him.
Fleury’s agent Allan Walsh is actually cool with that, according to the Tribune. “If there is mutual interest to get a deal done at some point, then we'll talk,” Walsh said. “The only thing Marc-Andre wants to focus on right now is next season, and that's what he's going to do.”
Fleury’s been a different goalie since Mike Bales joined the Penguins staff in a full-time capacity. That’s supported by the fact that Bales was one of the few people to keep his gig during the Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero bloodshed.
Rutherford believes in him. Do Penguins fans?