by PuckStopsHere on 11/12/10 at 01:19 AM ET
I try to track the worst player who is playing regularly in the NHL. I find it informative to see what kind of player can remain in the NHL despite failure. I have found that during the season, the early season biggest failure is usually a name player who is relied upon by his team. It is through the large amount of ice time that he gets that he is able to distinguish himself negatively. This player usually finds his game before we are too far into the NHL season. As the season progresses, it is usually a goon or a hard working but talentless role player who takes over as the worst regular in the league.
Earlier this season it looked like Simon Gagne of the Tampa Bay Lightning was well on his way to this dishonor, but injury has kept him out of the lineup. Today, I am picking Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins as the regular NHL player who has been the worst so far this year.
I have long argued that Marc-Andre Fleury is overrated and in danger of losing the Penguins starting goalie position if he has a bad year, but I didn’t expect things could be this bad. Fleury has one win in his eight appearances. He has posted a league worst .853 saves percentage and a 3.55 goals against average. Penguins career backup Brent Johnson is outplaying Fleury significantly.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have struggled as a result. They have a 7-9 record with one regulation tie point. If the season ended now, Pittsburgh would finish tenth in the East Conference and miss the playoffs. Goaltending problems are a big part of Pittsburgh’s problems so far.
While I expect that Marc-Andre Fleury will improve his game before long. While he is an overrated goalie who gets too much credit for the Penguins 2009 Stanley Cup, he is a far better goalie than we have seen so far this season. The goalie this season does not belong in the league. Fleury has hurt the Penguins so far this season. He has been the worst regular player in the league so far this year.
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