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Fleury ‘trying not to think about’ his future in Pittsburgh

May 30, 2013, 2:33 PM EDT

Marc Andre Fleury AP

Resigned to a backup role behind Tomas Vokoun, Marc-Andre Fleury says he’s only thinking about the present.

Mostly because he doesn’t want to think about the future.

That’s what the Penguins goalie told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday, suggesting his future is Pittsburgh is cloudy at best.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” Fleury said. “I don’t want to think about it.”

The numbers on Fleury don’t look good. He’s 28, with two years remaining on a seven-year, $35 million deal that carries a $5 million annual cap hit.

His playoff stats this year (2-2, .891 save percentage, 3.40 GAA) and last (2-4, .834 save percentage, 4.63 GAA) are incredibly concerning.

He plays on a team that has two huge contractual decisions to make after 2013-14 — UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang — and plays for a GM, Ray Shero, that has two compliance buyouts at his disposal.

So, what does it all mean?

The Pens don’t have any real goaltending prospects in the system.

They selected OHL Sault Ste. Marie netminder Matt Murray in the third round of the 2012 draft, and do have Jeff Zatkoff and Brad Thiessen with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where they won the Harry “Hap” Holmes trophy this year for fewest goals allowed.

But Zatkoff and Thiessen are 25 and 27, respectively.

Vokoun, obviously, is not Pittsburgh’s long-term solution in goal. He’s a 36-year-old journeyman that’ll be a free agent after 2014.

And, according to the Tribune-Review, there’s a slight chance he might not be the short-term solution either:

Coach Dan Bylsma has consistently declined to publicly commit to Vokoun, who has gone 6-1-1 on the strength of a .941 save percentage and 1.85 goals-against average.

Earlier this week, Bylsma appeared to plant a seed for The Flower to again bloom for the Penguins.

“He’s been practicing extremely well, and I think he’s ready to go in there and stop the puck when he gets that chance, when he gets that opportunity,” Bylsma said of Fleury on Monday.

Whatever the case, it promises to be an interesting summer when it comes to Pittsburgh’s crease conundrum.

  1. sjsharks66 - May 30, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Flower is GREAT during the regular season. He just struggles in the playoffs. Thats why they brought in Tomas. I dont see why they would not bring him back in the future.

    • blackfoot11 - May 30, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      I believed the justification for acquiring a better backup in Vokoun was to provide more spot duty and rest in the regular season for Fluery, so he would be better rested for the post-season run. I didn’t hear anything about good RS/bad post-season goalie as the reason.

      • jpelle82 - May 30, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        yeah me either. i would venture to say that shero had the last 2 fleury playoff failures in the back of his mind though when he got vokoun…even though he would never say that. i’m good with fleury being bought out after this year, especially if the pens continue to win without him in the playoffs. i realize that vokoun is not the future but the pens have some guys that can play and win games between the pipes with the skaters and talent they have up front…they can work them in slowly and keep vokoun if they need to.

      • bigbuffguy95 - May 30, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        Yes, I believe that was the *official* justification for signing Vokoun. But if you don’t think the Penguins didn’t also do it as insurance in case Fleury melted down in the playoffs again, you’re crazy. I’m sure they would have preferred that Fleury play well and not need to use Vokoun in the playoffs. But they were smart to sign a good backup just in case.

    • thesableo - May 30, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      I disagree with your assessment of Fleury. His career regular season SV% is .910. He’s only been above .920 once and that was five years ago. He’s worse in the playoffs, but he’s not “great” or even all that good in the regular season, either.
      And I’ve never heard of a team signing a backup goalie just for the playoffs.

      • stakex - May 30, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Exactly. This guy has been over rated for years. Hes not a good goalie, at all… playoffs or otherwise and the numbers not lie. He has simply had the luxury of hiding behind a high-powered offense for all these years.

  2. jpro412 - May 30, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Fleury probley played his last game in a penguins jersey in the islanders series.

  3. Steeley McBeam - May 30, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Only way Fluery is gone is if it means they cant resign Geno or Letang with him still on the roster.

    • jpelle82 - May 30, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      its a possibility with amount letang and malkin are gonna want.

  4. hrudey - May 30, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    I’m sure that when the time comes to face the future, Fleury will be there with pride and class. And then he’ll let it slip through his pads.

  5. thesableo - May 30, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    They should sign Bryzgalov.

  6. girouxed - May 30, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    ^ hahaha bryzgalov, they’ll probably get lundqvist with the luck that Philly has.

  7. pitpenguinsrulez - May 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    If the Pens were to bring in Lundqvist then they would have an actual number one goalie. Atleast Lundqvist would have a better opportunity to win the cup. I look Eric Hartzell from Quinnipac to be in net for the Pens next year along with Vokoun as Fleury gets bought out. Hartzell makes sense because he’s young and cheaper than Beach Ball Fleury on payroll and in net.

  8. pizzano7416 - May 30, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I want MAF gone!!! Buy his ass out if they have to!! Here is a link to many good G options avail. I really hope Shero pulls the trigger and gets one of these guys…

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1652748-ranking-the-top-goaltenders-available-this-summer/page/2

  9. pizzano7416 - May 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Another guy I would LOVE to see a Penguin next year is Jaroslav Halak… He had the 2 best years of his career the past 2 years, is only 28, has had success in the playoffs, and is very available because of the logjam at goalie that the Blues have right now..

    There is a couple guys in the link I posted above, but Halak is not on that list. But he should have been..

    Either way, I want MAF gone, he’s the only big time liability on the Pens and has to go. Shero should keep Vokoun as a backup to either Halak or one of those guys on the article I posted above. Vokoun has been awesome don’t get me wrong, but he’s 36 and a young, hungry G with upside is needed to be the Pens n1 G of the future.

    Make it happen Shero!!!

  10. pizzano7416 - May 30, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Where are you guys getting this King Henriq stuff from??? Don’t get me wrong I would love it if he was a Penguin, but that’s a real long shot. The link I posted above is a lot more realistic, along with Halak.. King Henriq would be amazing, but I can’t see Dolan letting his bestbplayer, and prob the best goaltender in the NHL go especially to the Pens… The Ranger fans would go ballistic and prob burn down MSG if that ever happened..

    Lets be realistic guys.. Buy out MAF, keep Vokoun as a very good, possible best backup net minder in the NHL and get Halak or one of the net minders listed in that bleacher report article I listed above.

    • 19to77 - May 30, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      No need to blow a buyout on Flower. There’s a trade somewhere, and any trade beats paying a guy to not play for you. Besides, even in a worst-case scenario, he’s capable enough in the regular season. His play this year didn’t hold the Pens back from being first in the East, and the ‘Hawks only claimed the President’s Trophy by a few points. Why buy him out? He’s not THAT much of a liability.

      • seabass231 - May 30, 2013 at 11:06 PM

        I think the bigger issue is $5 Million for a guy who clearly lacks confidence in the postseason. Seems like a nice enough fella, but I’m sure the AHL is filled with super human beings.

  11. rrino - May 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    What he really needs to think about is getting rid of that soul patch.

  12. stakex - May 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    There is a serious misconception that Fleury is a good goalie. Hes not. Not in the playoffs… not in the regular season. His numbers for his career are so-so at best in an era of lower scoring. Yes, he has a Stanly Cup ring but that has everything to do with the team playing in front of him. He didn’t carry the Pens to the cup, they carried him.

    As for his future with the Pens, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him bought out this summer to be honest. He is making an awful lot of money for being a very so-so goaltender (one whos not playing in the playoffs I might add), and I would think the Pens could find someone about as good for a lot less. It really all depends on what the goalie market looks like in the offseason.

    As a side note, Fleury better hope he doesn’t get canned by the Pens if he wants to stay a starter. He might be able to find a starting job with a non-contender, or a contender desperate for a somewhat decent goalie… but he really is of backup quality with most teams.

    • 19to77 - May 30, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      He started 33 of 48 games this year and the Pens ended second-place in the League. That’s the best “backup quality” netminder whose name isn’t Luongo I’ve ever heard of.

      • seabass231 - May 30, 2013 at 11:08 PM

        His numbers were remarkably similar to Vokoun’s for the regular season.

      • thesportsjudge - May 30, 2013 at 11:55 PM

        So did they win all/most of those games because of or in spite of him?

      • 19to77 - May 31, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        I think it’s just a liiiittle bit more complex than saying “They lost because of him” or “They won because of him.” The Pens don’t live and die by the strength of their goaltending alone. They aren’t the New York Rangers.

        Either way, calling him backup quality is underrating him.

  13. 19to77 - May 30, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    I don’t know. On the one hand, he can play a TON of games in the regular season, and his numbers may reflect the team’s generally offensive bias. Who knows, with a D-first team he could look a lot better. On the other hand… even his regular season stats aren’t exactly great, and there are some interesting names on the market this summer. Could potentially be worth moving him, especially with his age and cap hit.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Flower kept. He’s been a part of the team for ages. But I wouldn’t be opposed to moving him if the right deal appears. And Shero’s always been a guy who finds the right deal – look at the bounty he got in the Staal trade and how little he gave up for Iginla. It all depends on who’s available to replace him and how much other GMs would give to get him.

  14. chanceoffleury1 - May 30, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Have some of you forgot who the Pens GM is? There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell the Pens buyout Fleury. He only has 2 years left on his contract. A $5 million cap hit isn’t really that bad. And a guy who has 2 SCF appearances, one of which he led the playoffs in S% and the other where he got his ring, isn’t exactly the biggest question mark to take a chance on. Shero would definitely get something for him if the Pens decided to dump him. As my username exhibits, I am a fleury fan so I’d like to see him stay but I am well aware that is not the general consensus among my fellow pens fans.

  15. cheesesteak75 - May 30, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Not one player on the Pens played well in last year’s playoffs. Fleury had a few bad games at the start of this year’s playoffs. The guy has stood on head to wins games for this team in the past. Let’s wait to see how the team finishes in the playoffs this year before we kick him out of town!

  16. brett1058 - May 30, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    All you Fleury bashers will be eating crow, He will get a chance to redeem himself this round and stand on his head ! Vokun has been great, but Fleury is the pens best goaltender when his heads in the right place. I think hes ready!!!!!

  17. pizzano7416 - May 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Well sure trade him if you can. But with his value being low after the Islander series and is salary, good luck finding someone to take him

  18. pone27 - May 30, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Pens fans are nuts sometimes….

    Fleury is a solid, solid starter. Granted his contract is a bit bloated, but to try to dump him is nuts.

    Fleury is a key part of the Pens success seeding wise. Granted it’s not the playoffs, but that’s why they got Vokoun for these situations. Pens (hockey) fans need to realize that goalies too can fall into slumps. It’s the same if a top F or D slumps, your depth guys gotta step up.

    And I’m not a Rangers fans, but come on lol, you guys even have Lundy on your mind? NYR will NEVER let him go

  19. thesportsjudge - May 30, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    All this talk of Lundqvist….the poster was merely using him as a #1 goalie example, that’s all.

  20. beergold - May 31, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Send him to Toronto and he can join Neon and Kessel as a Leaf franchise player in purpetual mediocrity!

  21. leiterfelixleiter - May 31, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    1. Buyout Fleury this summer
    2. Trade to get RFA Jonathan Bernier from the Kings
    3. Win the Cup in 2014

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