Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Deal Is Done!

The Penguins have yet to make an official announcement, but multiple sources have reported (and Flower's agent has confirmed) that the Pittsburgh Penguins have signed Marc-Andre Fleury to a new 7-year contract worth $35 million. The signing comes as part of a wave of good news out of Camp Shero today as the Penguins continue to pick up the pieces after being burned by Marian Hossa just over 24 hours ago.

I really like this deal. A lot. I have been very vocal for about the last 18 months that I thought the Penguins should sign MAF to a long-term deal. I was thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 years, but I'll take 7. This leaves the Pens set in goal for the next 7 seasons, and leaves Jordan Staal as the only one of Shero's self-proclaimed core players without a long-term deal in place.

Get used to this face come springtime in Pittsburgh.

Flower will still be just 30 years old when this deal expires, so this is hopefully not the last contract he will sign in Pittsburgh. Regardless of that, there is every reason to think that MAF will have established himself as the best goalie in franchise history by the time this deal is up. He is only 150 wins and 11 shutouts behind Tom Barrasso for the franchise record in both categories. MAF should take over the lead in shutouts sometime in the 2009-10 season, while it will obviously take a little longer to overtake Barrasso in wins. The other big category in this discussion is naturally Stanley Cup wins, where Barrasso holds a 2-0 edge, but the pieces are definitely in place for Fleury to make a serious run at that mark as well over the next 7 seasons.

While it can be fun to look ahead and say "What if... ?" the most important thing to remember here is that the state of Pittsburgh Penguins goaltending is now better than it has ever been. With all of the firepower on the Penguins roster, we can't forget that it is nearly impossible to win the Stanley Cup without excellent goaltending. The Penguins have secured that for the next 7 seasons. And The Legend of MAF continues...

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