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Insider

Penguins should punt Fleury

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Drafting a goalie in the first round is a gamble, but the Pittsburgh Penguins and then-general manager Craig Patrick felt it was worth the risk, trading up to make 18-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury the No. 1 overall selection in the 2003 entry draft.

Four years later the gamble began to pay off, with Fleury winning 19 of 35 games and posting a .921 save percentage in the regular season. The Quebec native also played a pivotal role for Pittsburgh in its run to the 2008 Stanley Cup finals, where he stopped 569 of the 610 shots (.932) he faced until inadvertently deflecting a Henrik Zetterberg attempt across his own goal line, giving the Detroit Red Wings their 11th Stanley Cup championship.

The following season Fleury redeemed himself by making a miraculous, diving save across the crease to deny four-time champion Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings with two seconds left, giving Pittsburgh the first win by the away team in a Game 7 final since 1971 and its first Stanley Cup since 1992.

But you can milk a Stanley Cup victory for only so long. Since then, Fleury's struggles have begun to mount -- particularly in the postseason -- and it is past time for the Penguins to relieve Fleury of his starting responsibilities and possibly his place in the Pittsburgh organization.