2016 Stanley Cup Champions
It absolutely boggles my mind that fans are so quick to trade a true franchise goaltender.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who undoubtedly will be the biggest off-season story for the Penguins, is a No. 1 netminder. He is the winningest goaltender in Penguins history, has 99 playoff victories, two Stanley Cups and an Olympic gold medal.
He's been the heart and soul of this team for over a decade and his one of the more beloved Pittsburgh sports figures of the past twenty years.
Am I missing something?
"Matt Murray!" someone will inevitably yell.
Ah, yes, Mr. Murray. The 22-year-old rookie sensation whose 15 wins earned the Penguins their fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Thunder Bay, Ontario-native who is as cool as the other side of the pillow and had one of the most amazing playoff runs in recent history.
Ah, yes. Mr. Murray.
While I believe Murray is the goaltender of the Penguins' future, it is not the immediate future. Fleury is in the absolute peak of his career and has played better each and every season for the last four campaigns. Had his concussion not kept him out of action for so long, I still believe the Penguins would have won the Cup with him between the pipes.
Lest we forget, too, how Marc-Andre Fleury single-handedly kept the Penguins in the race until his injury. Without his amazing performance--which was not nearly as praised as it should have been due to lack of goal scoring--there is no Matt Murray legend created this year.
Fleury, the first building block of the core foundation we have come to love as fans, is just as beloved by his teammates. We were all choked up when Jordan Staal was traded and when Pascal Dupuis retired, but Fleury has meant so much more to this franchise than the aforementioned, respectively.
Murray is great, there is no doubt about it, but he does have flaws. For instance, how many times over the regular season and playoffs did Murray let in either the first or second shot on net? How many weak goals did we see during the playoff run? And lets face it: he hasn't had to shoulder anywhere near the load that Fleury has on his lightest work schedule.
I believe Matt Murray could be the next Carey Price, just more successful. He has that ability to become the greatest goalie in the game, but we should not be blinded by his one brilliant post-season run. It's an exceptional sample size, but it's still just that.
Marc-Andre Fleury is a heart and soul guy, he's who the rebuild was centered around. Plus, why would you want to trade him when he and Murray could prove to be the best one-two combination in the league?!
It doesn't make any sense to me.
Lastly, let's say Fleury was to be traded before the start of the season. What other goaltender could be an adequate back-up? Who's to say Murray doesn't regress a bit. Of course, there's the Expansion Draft we'll have to be concerned with, but that's in a years time. It's not immediate.
There's too much that could go wrong with a trade of Marc-Andre Fleury.
My verdict: Flower stays.
If Murray proves himself again this year, than maybe Fleury is out next season. But as for the 2016-17 season, with a strong chance to repeat, how can you justify moving him?