Marc-Andre Fleury is 6-1 with a .936 save percentage in these playoffs. The 32-year-old goalie is proving he can still play at a high level. He outperformed Sergei Bobrovsky in the first round, and now he’s outperforming Braden Holtby.
But the reality remains — the Penguins can only protect one goalie in the expansion draft, and Matt Murray is the future in Pittsburgh.
In other words, Fleury is still likely to be traded this offseason, no matter how well he’s playing right now. He only has two years left on his contract, with a cap hit of $5.75 million.
And that lack of term may actually be attractive to some suitors.
Take a team like Calgary. The Flames have some young goalies in the system, but nobody under contract to bridge the gap. They could always go out and sign Ben Bishop on July 1, but they’d probably have to give him big money and term. And then, what if Bishop doesn’t work out? Brian Elliott didn’t work out, and Bishop is not coming off the best season.
Or — and wouldn’t this be interesting — take a team like Philadelphia. The Flyers are in a similar predicament to Calgary. They have some good, young goalies in the organization, led by 23-year-old Anthony Stolarz. But are they willing to go into next season with a tandem of Stolarz and Michal Neuvirth? The former is still pretty inexperienced, and the latter had an .891 save percentage in 2016-17.
If you think about it, getting Fleury out of Pittsburgh would be sort of like the Flyers getting Valtteri Filppula out of Tampa Bay.
Filppula is only signed through next season.
“On July 1, you don’t get a player like this on a one-year deal,” GM Ron Hextall said of Filppula. “The money, you won’t get this type of player on a one-year deal, which was attractive to us.”
Which begs the question — could you get a goalie like Fleury on a two-year deal?
Anyway, just something to think about. The Penguins and their fans probably aren’t too focused on the offseason right now, but other teams — and let’s not forget about Dallas — certainly are.