Fleury Could Become Best Ever

Brad HillContributor IOctober 2, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 09:  Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Detroit Red Wings during Game Six of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Mellon Arena on June 9, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

 With 1 second left in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals Marc-Andre Fleury dove across the crease making the biggest save of his young career. He had won his first Stanley Cup of what could be many, he cemented himself in hockey history, and he had quieted his critics. Critics that should not have been on his back and may regret ever saying a negative thing about Fleury when his career is over. Marc-Andre Fleury could become the best Goaltender to ever put on the pads.

In 2003 Fleury was taken number 1 overall in the NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The second time that a goalie had ever been pick 1st overall. The other was Rick Dipietro in 2000 by the New York Islanders. Fleury started his career off with a bang as he stopped 46 of 48 shots in a 3-0 Penguins lost in his first career game and show everybody while the Penguins picked him.

After a lockout n his first full season Fleury won 40 games. The second highest win total in a season to 43 by Tom Barrasso. This season was also the first playoff appearance for Fleury which ended in the first round to the Ottawa Senators.

The 2007-2008 season Fleury led the Penguins to the playoffs n all the way to the Stanley Cup final after coming off a high ankle sprain where he miss 30 plus games. In game 5 of the Cup finals Fleury put the team on his back once again. In a 3 overtime win Fleury stopped 55 of 58 Red Wings shots to hold off elimination.

Then came the 2008-2009 season where in the Playoffs Fleury came up big with a Game 7 win over the Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals, held off elimination in Game 6 of the finals, and with one clinching save won the Stanley Cup in game 7.

Marc-Andre Fleury has dealt with his critics with a simple smile. Critics have said he was a waste, won’t live up to his 1st overall pick, isn’t any good, and isn’t a big game goalie. These critics could be eating their words when Fleury's career is over as he could be the very best that has ever played his position.

The Top 2 Goalies all time right now: Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy

Just a little comparison to when they were 24 years old (career totals):

Martin Brodeur

After the 1996-1997 season:

      Regular Season                                                       Playoffs

Wins: 119     Shutouts: 22                        Wins: 29     Shutouts: 6     Cups: 1

Patrick Roy

After the 1988-1989 season:

      Regular Season                                                      Playoffs

Wins: 101     Shutouts: 9                         Wins: 35     Shutouts: 3     Cups: 1

Marc-Andre Fleury

Up to the start of 2009-2010 season:

      Regular Season                                                      Playoffs

Wins: 111     Shutouts: 15                       Wins: 31     Shutouts: 3     Cups: 1

If Marc-Andre Fleury can stay healthy there is no reason why he can't have near or over 600 wins and 100 shutouts. He has a great supporting cast and is still learning and getting better every season. Fleury could become the best goalie to ever play!