Most sports fans have heard the statement, " Hitting a fastball is the hardest task to do in sport". I tend to disagree with that sentiment. I believe the hardest task to do in sports is to be an NHL goalie. Hitting a ball is extremely hard, but so is stopping a 100 mile per hour slap shot.
With that said, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had a number of good to great goalies in their existence.
Some general statistics for the Pens over the 43 years of goaltending:
The Penguins have had 56 goalies in their existence.
Overall record of 1,315 wins, 1,424 losses, 383 ties, and 56 overtime losses in the regular season.
Overall record of 196 wins and 95 losses in the playoffs.
The season of 1992-93 was their best record year at 56 wins, 21 losses, and nine ties featuring Tom Barrasso and Ken Wregget.
Statistics: 196 games played, 58 wins, 94 losses, 34 ties, 11 shutouts, 3.12 goals per game
Les Binkley was the first goalie in Pens' history, as well as the first goalie to have a run in the playoffs. In 1969-70, he had five wins and two losses. He was surely not the greatest goalie in team history, but being the first ever gets you an honorable mention.
Statistics: 87 games played, 37 wins, 33 losses, four ties, one shutout, 4.13 goals per game
Not the flashiest goalie, nor the most well-known, but he had a solid career for the Pens as his record indicates. His record was primarily amassed as a backup to Tom Barrasso.
Pietrangelo was the goalie who had one of the most amazing saves in Penguins history, known simply as "The Save," as can be seen by using the link below:
He also was a Stanley Cup winner with the Pens during the 1990-91 season. He played during the first Cup run, where he went 4-1 in five playoff games.
Statistics: 146 games, 56 wins, 63 losses, 11 ties, five shutouts, 2.91 goals per game
Jean Sebastien Aubin was the starting and backup goaltender for the Penguins from 1998 through 2004. He was drafted in the third round (76th overall) by Pittsburgh in hopes of being the next Tom Barrasso. Aubin took the reigns as the starting goaltender in 1999 when Barrasso was limited to 20 games.
His starting years were a dark period in the history of the Pens, as his only playoff game was in the 2000-2001 season.
Aubin is well known being the stop-gap between Barasso and Fleury, two of the greatest goalies in Pens history.
Statistics: 33 games, 18 wins, eight losses, five overtime losses, two shutouts, 2.51 goals per game
Now, before passing judgment, listen to my argument. Ty Conklin was the backup to Marc-Andre Fleury in the 2007-2008 season. Fleury went down with an injury and it looked like the fans' playoff hopes were dashed. Enter our savior, Ty Conklin.
Conklin played well above advertised and got the Penguins through the rough patch, securing the record for lowest goals against average and save percentage in a season in Penguins' history. Without his stellar effort, the Penguins would not have made the playoffs; thus, not reaching the finals that year against the Red Wings.
Conklin was also the starter for the inaugural Winter Classic featuring the Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres. Conklin received the win via shootout.
Statistics: 212 games, 104 wins, 67 losses, 21 ties, six shutouts, 3.29 goals per game
One of the few goalies in Penguins' history with a winning record, Wregget makes this list as a faithful backup and adequate starter. He played from the 1991-92 season to 1997-98. His .913 goals against average in the playoffs, as well as 13 wins, place him on this hallowed list.
Wregget's name is etched on the Stanley Cup for being part of the 1991-92 winning team. Always overshadowed by Tom Barrasso, Wregget was traded to the Calgary Flames in June of 1998 for German Titov and Todd Hlushko.
Statistics: 235 games, 111 wins, 85 losses, 26 OT losses, 15 shutouts, 2.87 goals per game (all as of the 2008-09 season)
The Penguins believe they drafted a franchise goalie in Marc-Andre Fleury when they took him first overall in the 2003 entry level draft. Some would disagree with that sentiment, but Fleury has a Stanley Cup under his belt from the 2008-09 season, which places him second on this list.
Looking like the franchise goalie he could be, Fleury holds the Penguins' records for most games played in a season, most minutes played in a season, and most shots faced in a season.
He also holds the single season playoff records for most games started, most minutes played, most shots faced, and is tied with Barrasso for most wins.
It takes more than one paragraph to show all the accolades of Fleury. He was also a gold medalist in the 2010 Olympics, as he and fellow teammate Sidney Crosby led Canada to gold. He also has accumulated 35 wins or more twice in his career.
With all those accolades, Fleury also holds the record for most goals given up in a single playoffs with 63 in 2008-09.
I could continue to spout off statistics, Lord knows there are enough of them, but that truly doesn't do Fleury justice.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been a leader on a Stanley Cup winning team and is part of the foundation of our current roster. The Penguins will only go as far as Fleury's puck-stopping ability will carry them.
Statistics: 460 games, 226 wins, 153 losses, 53 ties, 24 shutouts, 3.27 goals per game
Tom Barrasso was the no-brainer for best goalie of all-time.The two-time Stanley Cup winner holds multiple franchise records for both the regular season and playoffs.
A staple of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup champions, Barrasso started his illustrious Penguins career in 1988 when the Pens traded for the first-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres.
Words alone cannot describe what Barrasso meant to the city of Pittsburgh as a player and as a man. The records alone speak for him as a player, but being in central Pennsylvania during the Cup run, there were several names on the tongues of all fans. Mario. Jagr. Francis. Barrasso.
Barrasso's numbers don't speak to the effect he had on the team as a leader. He always came up with the big save right when the Pens needed a lift.
He will always be remembered in Pittsburgh as a legend and a cog in the wheel that brought our first two Stanley Cups.