All the latest from around the crease…
Pittsburgh keeps ridin’ Fleury
The Pens will stick with Marc-Andre Fleury in goal tonight when they host the Flyers in an NBCSN Rivalry Night game at Consol. Fleury, who stopped 34 of 35 shots in Saturday’s win over the Islanders, has played every game this season for Pittsburgh and posted solid-if-unspectacular numbers: 3-1-0, .915 save percentage and 2.50 GAA.
For Philly, it’s unclear who will get the start. Steve Mason played last night in a 4-0 loss to Chicago and was busy, stopping 39 of 43 shots, so it’s possible the club could go to Ray Emery in the second of a back-to-back. (Update: sounds like Emery.)
Caps at Oilers: Braden Holtby for Washington; Ben Scrivens likely for Edmonton
Sabres at Ducks: Frederik Andersen for Anaheim; Jhonas Enroth likely for Buffalo
From Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
So we suppose you’ll have to wait until tomorrow (or at least later tonight) to read Rossi’s column, but that appears to be a pretty strong vote of confidence from general manager Jim Rutherford.
Granted, Rutherford doesn’t exactly hold the title of GM For Life in Pittsburgh. In fact, the 65-year-old said upon being hired this past summer that he only expects to serve in the position for two or three years.
Fleury, though, is a pending unrestricted free agent, so there’s a good chance that Rutherford will still be the GM when a decision on the goaltending needs to be made. Fleury, 29, is off to a decent start in 2014-15, with a 3-1-0 record and .915 save percentage.
Of course, it’s not what Fleury does in the regular season that anyone really cares about. It’s how he does in the postseason, where he’s had his share of struggles in recent years. In 93 career playoff games, despite backstopping the Pens to a Stanley Cup in 2009, his save percentage is a modest .905.
Related: Penguins aren’t in rush to re-sign Fleury
For Hadyn Fleury it was close, but no cigar.
Fleury, Carolina’s first-round pick (seventh overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, was sent packing from camp on Thursday and returned to his WHL team in Red Deer.
The second d-man off the board in June behind Florida’s Aaron Ekblad, Fleury was thought to have a decent chance of making the ‘Canes this year, especially with Carolina’s lack of depth on defense — and at 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, Fleury does possess the requisite size to compete in the NHL straight away.
That said, he’s still just 18 years old — won’t turn 19 until next July — and pretty inexperienced, having only played two full seasons in the Western League with the Rebels.
The ‘Canes also cut nine players aside from Fleury on Thursday, bringing their camp roster down to 25 players. On defense, eight skaters remain: Ron Hainsey, Tim Gleason, Andrej Sekera, Ryan Murphy, Brett Bellemore, Jay Harrison, Justin Faulk and John-Michael Liles.
A few weeks ago, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said he was “not in a hurry” to re-sign goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s under contract for just one more season at a $5 million cap hit before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
That was, apparently, fine with Fleury’s agent; however, the 29-year-old netminder admitted yesterday that he had mixed feelings about heading into 2014-15 as a pending UFA.
“I think for a player, it’s always nice to have the certainty of a contract,” said Fleury, per the Tribune-Review. “You never know what can happen. But at the same time, I’m not too worried. I love this city and this team. I want to stay here and win. I want to play here. We’ll see what happens.”
Fleury has been a lightning rod for criticism since he helped the Pens to the Stanley Cup in 2009. While his numbers were decent this past postseason (.915 save percentage), it’s not too hard to picture the club going in a different direction next summer, especially should his play falter.
Per CapGeek, Fleury has the highest cap hit among all pending UFA goalies.
Although the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to live up to expectations in the 2014 playoffs, at least this time goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury escaped relatively unscathed. Before the 2013-14 campaign, Fleury had struggled in the Penguins’ recent postseason runs, which put his status as the team’s long-term starter into question.
It looks like his solid playoff showing hasn’t put that matter to rest though. New Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has defended Fleury and sees him as someone that could play between the pipes in Pittsburgh for years to come, but will he re-sign Fleury before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2015? It seems we won’t know the answer any time soon.
“I’m not in a hurry to do a contract with him,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. In fact, the 29-year-old goaltender’s contract status isn’t likely to be resolved before the start of the season.
That’s fine by Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh.
“We’re actually on the same page,” Walsh said. “It’s of no consequence at all.”
He added that Fleury wants to spend the rest of his career in Pittsburgh.
Rutherford: Mental game used to be difficult for Fleury, but he’s improved