While Anaheim or San Jose appear to be the favorites for the eventual landing spot for goaltender Ryan Miller, the Pittsburgh Penguins are also in the discussion. With a new general manager soon arriving (and potentially a new coach), the questions surrounding the ability of Marc-Andre Fleury to hold down the starting position will only grow. Fleury wasn’t the reason the Penguins were unable to get past the New York Rangers. In fact, the goaltender actually looked better in the second round when compared to the series with the Columbus Blue Jackets. While he was not directly responsible for the losses, he did not steal games for the Penguins either.
In his 40 games with the Buffalo Sabres, Miller had a .923 SV% and a 2.72 GAA. In his 19 games with the St. Louis Blues, Miller’s SV% fell to .903, but his GAA dropped slightly to 2.47. Miller struggled with the Blues in the playoffs, winning only two of the six games against the Chicago Blackhawks. Miller finished the 2014 postseason with a .897 SV% and a 2.70 GAA. In his 53 post-season appearances, Miller has a .915 SV% and a 2.49 GAA.
Hopping on with St. Louis proved to not be a good experience for Miller. Many felt the biggest issue for Miller was being on a losing Buffalo squad. With the poor performance with the Blues, Miller may have decreased his value.
In 64 games with the Penguins, Fleury posted a .915 SV% and a 2.37 GAA. In his 13 playoff games this year, Fleury was under a lot of scrutiny for not being able to hold on to leads, but he finished with a respectable .915% SV% and a 2.40 GAA. Fleury put up similar numbers during the playoffs to what he did in the regular season. With everything being magnified during the postseason, Fleury came off as being a lot worse than his numbers suggested. In his 93 playoff appearances, Fleury has posted a .905 SV% and a 2.68 GAA.
While Fleury put up average numbers during the postseason, he has a short leash in Pittsburgh, and it’s getting to the point where a change of scenery may be needed. Fleury kept things under control against the Rangers, but the Blue Jackets had Fleury on the ropes. Even in the final minutes of Game 6, the Blue Jackets stormed back and appeared close to tying the game in the closing seconds.
Fleury carries a $5M cap hit, big money for an average goaltender. Ryan Miller will command $6.25M against the cap, but outside of this season, has put up good numbers with a mediocre Sabres team. If the Penguins fill in some holes at defense, improve the bottom six forwards, and have Miller in goal, they may just find the winning package.