As I have written about previously, no one is really sure what the Hockey Hall of Fame is thinking when it comes to inducting netminders.
With that said, there is one goaltender currently playing that definitely deserves to be in hockey’s hallowed hall. That masked man would be Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Back on March 12 of last season, Fleury notched his 400th career victory. What’s more is that he did it against the Philadelphia Flyers, a team that used to torment him when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Like he did all of last season for the then expansion hockey club, Fleury, 34, was outstanding in this game. He made 38 saves on 40 shots and stole two points for his team.
Last season was an unbelievable year for Fleury. He went 29-13-4 with a 2.24 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage. and had four shutouts in leading his hockey club to the Pacific Division title in their first year in the NHL.
Fleury’s play in the postseason was even more impressive as he got his team to within three victories of a Stanley Cup in the team’s first year before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games. Had the Golden Knights found a way to win, Fleury would have more than likely won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s best player in the playoffs as he went 13-7 with a 2.24 goals-against average, a .927 save percentage and four shutouts.
Truth be told, Fleury is having another great season to date for his hockey club. He is currently 27-14-4 with a 2.49 goals against average, a .911 save percentage, and six shutouts.
After getting off to a very slow start, Fleury is once again his team’s best player. He makes the big save when his team needs them the most, he battles every night to stop pucks with every inch of his body, and more importantly, he wins his team a ton of hockey games.
Fleury is the face of the Golden Knights’ franchise. He is their best player, one of their leaders in the dressing room, does outstanding community work, and is someone that young goaltenders today should look up to.
In terms of one day getting inducted in the HHOF, he definitely should get in for several reasons. For starters, he has a ton of wins.
There are not that many netminders 400 career wins. Fleury currently has 431 career wins, which puts him ninth all time.
Secondly, Fleury has three Stanley Cups to his name. He won one as a starter with the Penguins in 2009 and then two as a back-up in 2016 and 2017, though he was a big part of them winning both of those Cups as he filled in for Matt Murray when he was injured.
In looking at his numbers as a whole, they are extremely solid. He has a career 2.56 goals against average, a .913 save percentage, and 54 career shutouts.
Fleury has put up these kinds of numbers despite having several seasons on teams with suspect defense. He’d face a ton of shots in his career and the fact that he has stopped 91 percent of them is very impressive, especially with the way offense has increased since the lockout of 2004-05.
Lastly, Fleury is still writing his story and is 34-years-old. He has a chance to add to his wins totals and further improve is goals against, save percentage and shutout numbers.
This guy deserves to be in the HHOF when all is said and done. I think many of you folks out there would agree with me.
*Photo: The Associated Press