Marc-Andre Fleury recorded 33 saves for his 20th win of the season against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, reaching the 20-win plateau for the 13th time in his NHL career.
After beating the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night, Fleury now has 487 wins in his career. That places him fourth all-time in the NHL behind Roberto Luongo (489), Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691).
Without conceding anything, Fleury looks like a good bet to reach at least a tie with Luongo for third all-time by the end of this season. Assuming that Fleury splits the remaining games evenly with Robin Lehner, he should have five more starts to accomplish the task. If he wins three of those, he will move into sole possession of third place before the end of the year.
It makes the totals put up by Roy and Brodeur all the more remarkable. If Fleury can win 62 more games in the next several seasons he could get to second all-time, but it will be difficult. There’s just no touching Brodeur’s 691, which is on a special level all its own.
I don’t think there’s any argument that Marc-Andre Fleury is going to make the Hockey Hall of Fame one day. Hopefully, Vegas Golden Knights fans appreciate what they’re seeing right now, the amazing resurgence of one of the best goaltenders ever to play the game. Fleury can rightly be credited with having a major hand in the early popularity of the franchise and helping it establish itself as part of the Las Vegas landscape so quickly.
But the NHL is very much a “what have you done for me lately” league. And this season, Marc-Andre Fleury has put on one of his best clutch runs, winning games and serving as the workhorse while Robin Lehner at first struggled and then battled injury to keep the VGK atop the Honda West Division hierarchy. At one point, Fleury played 17-of-18 games from February 9 until March 17, going 12-5 including a pair of shutouts against the Colorado Avalanche and another against the San Jose Sharks.
The consistency with which Marc-Andre Fleury has played this season and his entire time as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights has really buoyed the franchise on and off the ice. It’s certainly easier to sing when you’re winning, and VGK fans have seen a lot of it the last few years. Fleury being not only a great face of the franchise off the ice but a leader and top performer on the ice has been the best possible thing for the still-growing hockey community.
Fleury flashes an easy smile almost all the time, and contributes his time and money in the Vegas community. He very quickly became the face of a team that grew on the city quicker than anyone could have imagined. In hindsight, the Golden Knights were extremely lucky they couldn’t trade him during the off-season despite the cap issues a $12M hit tied up in two goalies presented.
He’s been the heart and soul of the team since its inception, and that’s not changing any time soon. With his play continuing at a high level, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be nominated for if not win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender. With all due respect to Robin Lehner, this is Fleury’s team, and they will go as far as he will take them.