Penguins ink Marc-Andre Fleury to extension, put faith in embattled goaltender

Penguins ink Marc-Andre Fleury to extension, put faith in embattled goaltender

Last summer the Penguins effectively fired their general manager and coach as part of what was supposedly a major overhaul. They sort of had a chance to do the same with pending unrestricted goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. They could have let him walk at the end of the year, or traded him before season's end. 

Instead they bestowed Fleury, who has been a major part of the Penguins recent postseason flameouts, with a four-year $23 million contract extension announced Wednesday. The deal will take the 29-year-old No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NHL draft, through the 2018-19 season at $5.75 million per-year, a raise from his current $5 million per-year deal. 

The Penguins released a statement:

“I believe in Marc-Andre Fleury as the team does,” general manager Jim Rutherford said. “He’s won before and he will win again. We’re very pleased to have him signed long term.” 

With the exception of his one Stanley Cup -- which the Penguins have trumpeted as part of their Wednesday release, awkward photos included -- Fleury is a noted recent postseason disaster. 

He had a 4.63 goals against average in 2011-12 and a 3.52 GAA in 2013 -- a playoff year where he got benched. Fleury was also the man in the net during Pittsburgh's collapse against the New York Rangers in last year's playoffs, though he could hardly be the only one at fault there. 

Note where he ranks save percentage-wise from 2009 through this year.

Is Fleury off to a great start? Totally, he has a 7-2-0 record and a 1.89 goals against average and .931 save percentage. But how much of this has to do with his contract year, which has essentially been resolved? 

Some of Pittsburgh's decision could be driven by a weak unrestricted free agent goaltending class this summer as noted by CapGeek's list. You don't think 'sign this guy!' when you see the names Viktor Fasth and Karri Ramo. 

Whether or not you like the deal, Fleury is in Pittsburgh essentially for the rest of his career. And the Penguins are putting a lot of their hopes on him.