Marc-Andre Fleury’s latest milestone strengthens Hall of Fame resume

Marc-Andre Fleury Hall of Fame
David Kirouac, Getty Images

Marc-Andre Fleury reached another career milestone this week when he became just the third goalie in NHL history to win 500 career games. He checked that box with a shutout win in Montreal, and it not only gives him another round number milestone that people tend to love in sports, it also further cemented his Hall of Fame resume.

At this point there should be no debate as to whether or not Fleury is going to end up in the Hall of Fame. He is going to be in. It is a slam dunk. A lock. Take it to the bank.

Fleury has always been an interesting case because at no point in his career has he ever been considered the best goalie of his era. That distinction probably always went to either somebody like Henrik Lundqvist or Roberto Luongo, and more recently, Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Until the 2020-21 season, he had never even been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy and only had two top-five finishes in his career up until that point. So he was rarely, if ever, considered one of the best goalies in the league in a single season by the league general managers that vote on the award.

He was always very good, very durable, great in some stretches, below average in other stretches, with the occasional playoff meltdown mixed in.

To some, that sort of standing among his peers would not be enough for Hall of Fame status. It might put him on the Chris Osgood “good player on a good team” level that lives on the fringes of Hall of Fame worthiness.

But what separates Fleury from somebody like Osgood is that he falls into every single category that the Hall of Fame committee tends to look for: Counting stats, championships, and individual awards. If you have two of those three things, you will eventually get in. If you have all three, you might be a first ballot player.

Fleury has all three.

He is one of just three goalies in NHL history to accumulate 500 career wins, and if he comes back for another season or two could end up in second place on the all-time wins list. That alone might be enough for the committee to put him in because there is no way they are going to keep a 500-win, top-three player in the category out. Every other member of the top-five is in, and the only eligible player in the top-12 to not already be in is Curtis Joseph (454 wins, seventh place all-time).

Luongo and Lundqvist are also in the top-12 but are not yet eligible.

You want championships and being part of great teams (and the Hall of Fame committee clearly does)? He also has the three Stanley Cup rings. You could easily play devil’s advocate here and say, “well, he was the backup in two of those Stanley Cup Finals,” but I am not sure the Hall of Fame committee is going to look at that or care about it. They just see the rings, because even now Fleury is always referred to as a “three-time Stanley Cup champion.”

On top of that, he has two other Stanley Cup Final appearances on his resume, including another of his most defining moments when he helped guide an expansion team (the Vegas Golden Knights) in its inaugural season to the Stanley Cup Final.

Then last year he got the final piece that solidified his spot in hall of Toronto: The individual honors by winning the Vezina Trophy and the Jennings Trophy. Getting that Vezina was significant because it put him among the all-time giants of the position.

He is now in the multiple Stanley Cup club, the Vezina club, and the exclusive 500-win club.

In the history of the league there are only six goalies with more than one cup, a Vezina, and at least 400 wins.

That list: Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Fleury, Terry Sawchuk, Jacques Plante, and Grant Fuhr.

The other five are not only all in the Hall of Fame, they were all inducted in their first year of eligibility.

If you break it down on a year-by-year basis there were probably always at least a handful of goalies that were ahead of him in the league. But when it comes to big picture resume, the career-long stuff that gets people in the Hall of Fame, he has everything that is required. He just keeps adding to it.

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