“Star goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent and will need a big raise on the $1.6 million he earned this season while blossoming into a franchise netminder. The Penguins need to make Fleury the first priority. Given the lacklustre market for unrestricted free-agent goalies, Cristobal Huet and Jose Theodore aside, the 23-year-old Fleury is a prime target for an offer sheet July 1 if he isn’t signed by then. Especially since Huet and Theodore may re-sign with their respective clubs before July 1.”
It would be foolish for MA Fleury to leave the Pens because, even with a number of players to sign, they will have a strong nucleus to compete for the Cup in the coming years. Without a doubt, if Fleury is not signed by July 1, some team will offer him a monster contract knowing the Pens will not be able to match.
It would be great for Pittsburgh if Fleury signs with the team for less than his market value in the interest of helping the team sign others. He would still be very wealthy, have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup (does anyone doubt that??) and endear him to the Pittsburgh fans.
The team also has to deal with back-up Ty Conklin who is a UFA.
If Fleury goes elsewhere, Conklin is a much more affordable goalie and may be a great option.
Conklin took over starting role when Fleury was hurt this past season and was very impressive. 33 games played with 18 wins, 8 losses and 5 shootout losses. Very impressive 92.1 save percentage.
Would he be able to carry the Pens back to the Finals…. probably not but he would sign for millions less which will give room for the Pens to sign Malkin, Hossa, Oprik, and Malone – all four vital components to the Cup run.
With either goalie, the Pens will be very competitive and the team to beat in the East.