A good goaltender and head coach will get you into the playoffs, but a great goaltender and head coach will win you a Stanley Cup. The Pittsburgh Penguins are fortunate to have two great goaltenders and a head coach who inspires his team every night.
To qualify for the all-decade team, goaltenders must have played 50 games. This excludes someone like Thomas Greiss, who only played 20 games for the Penguins. The head coach must have coached a minimum of 100 games. Success prior to 2010 does not factor into this team. That said, let’s look at the two goaltenders and the head coach who made the Penguins’ 2010s All-Decade Team.
Goaltender No. 1: Marc-Andre Fleury
A Pittsburgh legend, Marc-Andre Fleury is the first goalie on the All-Decade Team. Redefining ‘fan favorite’, it was not uncommon to see Fleury make a miraculous save and be smiling ear to ear shortly after. He loved nothing more than making an acrobatic save to get the crowd on their feet. With a save percentage of .909 or better every season, he owned the net for much of the decade.
Fleury led the Penguins to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs before an injury forced him to watch from the bench. He came the backup in the 2016-17 season, but continued to play at a high level without causing a distraction. In the 2017 Playoffs, an injury allowed him to be the starter and lead the Penguins through the first two rounds.
After raising the Stanley Cup again in 2017, Fleury waived his no-trade clause in order to be drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. His first game back in Pittsburgh was an emotional night. Fans would not stop chanting his name which moved Fleury to tears. Pittsburgh will always be his home and his time as a Penguin will never be forgotten.
Games played: 442, record: 252-137-36, goals against average (GAA): 2.37, save percentage (SV%): .915, shutouts: 35
Goaltender No. 2: Matt Murray
Following in Fleury’s footsteps, Matt Murray took over as the #1 goaltender at the start of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With Fleury injured, the Penguins turned to the rookie goaltender who had a 15-6 record to lead the team to a championship. His success pushed the team to name him their starting goaltender the following season. He backed up his success with a second consecutive Cup, including shutouts in the final two games against the Nashville Predators.
With Fleury in Vegas, Murray is now the Penguins’ No. 1 goaltender. Staying healthy has been an issue, as he has only started 50 regular season games once in his career. Even with his injury history, Murray is still the franchise goalie. His success will be the key to how long their Stanley Cup window remains open.
Games played: 209, record: 125-61-14, GAA: 2.40, SV%: .918, shutouts: 16
Head Coach: Mike Sullivan
Taking over for the fired Mike Johnston on Dec. 12, 2015, Mike Sullivan hit the ground running. Signed early in the offseason as the head coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the American Hockey League, his promotion was seamless. His familiarity with the young players and knowledge of the ins and outs of the organization were just two reasons the Penguins decided to promote him. He quickly earned the attention of the locker room and found ways to motivate his players like the previous coaches could not.
Sullivan masterfully guided the Penguins to two Stanley Cups in his first two seasons as head coach. He is known to tinker with his lines on a nightly basis in order to see what works best. Now in his fifth season, he still has command of the locker room, earning a contract extension before the start of the 2019-20 season. As the only Penguins coach to win a Stanley Cup in this decade, naming him the head coach of the All-Decade Team was a no-brainer and deserved.
Head Coach Record: 212-119-34
Jake Guentzel- Sidney Crosby- Pascal Dupuis
Chris Kunitz- Evgeni Malkin- James Neal
Carl Hagelin- Nick Bonino- Phil Kessel
Bryan Rust- Jordan Staal- Patric Hornqvist
Brian Dumoulin- Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik- Justin Schultz
Matt Niskanen- Olli Maatta
Head Coach: Mike Sullivan
Josh Karadeema is a professional sports videographer who currently works for the Tennessee Titans filming practices and games for coaches and player review. Josh also is a contributing writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team he has watched since 2003, covering a variety of topics. Josh is a native of Jacksonville, FL and currently resides in Nashville, TN.