Since he led the Penguins to their third Stanley Cup championship in 2009, Fleury has been the primary, or one of the top reasons why Pittsburgh has failed to reach the Cup Final over the last four seasons.
Fleury’s contract expires at the end of the upcoming season, and new general manager Jim Rutherford doesn’t seem eager to get something done in the short term.
“I’m not in a hurry to do a contract with him,” Rutherford told Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
That doesn’t mean the two sides won’t come to an agreement on an extension at some point, though.
“From my point of view, he’s our goalie,” Rutherford added. “There’s no reason why he can’t be our goalie for a long time.”
Fleury hasn’t posted a save percentage of .920 or higher and a goals against average of less than 2.35 during a single playoff run since 2007-08, when the Penguins were eliminated in the Stanley Cup Final by the Detroit Red Wings in six games. Fleury has allowed 75 goals in his last 24 postseason games over a span of three seasons. That’s over three goals per game. He lost his job during the 2012 and 2013 postseasons, then rebounded a little bit in 2014 before playing below expectations in his team’s second-round series loss to the New York Rangers.
The Penguins are taking the smart approach to Fleury’s future. He’s nowhere near the level of an elite goaltender, and his playoff struggles have prevented the team from competing for championships over the last four seasons.
Unless he makes major strides in 2014-15 and plays well en route to another Stanley Cup title, Pittsburgh would be smart to let Fleury walk in the summer as an unrestricted free agent.
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