While browsing the blog The Puck Stops Here, we took a pit stop in their Atlantic Division preview.
"In goal, the Penguins will play Marc-Andre Fleury most nights. This former first overall draft pick has been unable to live up to his potential. He turns 26 this year and is running out of chances, but a big year is still not entirely impossible. Pittsburgh should be the class of the division even if Fleury does not provide much in goal. They have too much talent in front of him."
These "expectations" are ridiculous.
His stats before being drafted by the Pens weren't blowing people away.
The Pens weren't expecting to get a Hasek, Brodeur, or Roy with this pick anyway.
If you were expecting that, you're an idiot.
Asking Fleury to have a .940 save percentage and 2.00 GAA is just too much. Sorry.
The Pens traded up for that top pick in 2003 and wanted a goalie to build their team around.
This pressure of being a top-overall pick doesn't exist for Fleury.
If he was on a shit team, he would be asked to perform like a Brodeur, Roy, or Hasek, to warrant that top pick.
But on this Penguins team here and now, this "pressure" for MAF to perform seems forced.
Rewind back to 2003. The Pens were pretty bad.
The drafting of Marc-Andre Fleury created an immediate buzz in the city.
It was better than drafting some guy who would be in the minors for two years.
Once they got a team in front of him, Fleury has delivered 40-win seasons and a Cup.
MAF had some maturing to do and some experience to attain when he took his lumps early in his Pens career.
We don't cringe anymore like we used to when someone winds up for a slapshot.
If people want to attribute last season's playoff exit to fatigue and exhaustion,
just remember that Fleury's exhaustion would have been in the spotlight more than any other Penguin's.
So, does Marc-Andre Fleury suck? No.
Do Jocelyn Thibault, Sebastien Caron, Andy Chiodo, J.S. Aubin, and Dany Sabourin suck?
We'll take him into battle every day of the week.