One thing I’ve heard ad nauseum through the early part if this season from a large portion of the fanbase is the following statement:

“Who cares what Fleury does in the regular season? It doesn’t count until the playoffs.”

Certainly, Fleury hasn’t done much (aside from winning a Stanley Cup in 2009) to quell that type of mindset in the city of Pittsburgh.

But make no bones about it, my mindset is the complete opposite.

Enjoy what Fleury is doing now. Take it all in, rewind your DVR, do whatever you have to do.

This is a player that the Pittsburgh Penguins have an investment in. A bigger investment than I’m able to actually portray via words in this article.

Let’s take a bit of an independent look at what Marc-Andre Fleury has done thus far this season.

Shots Faced Per 60 Minutes

Through this early part of the year, having played 841:05 thus far, Marc-Andre Fleury is facing 26.32 shots a game. That number is down from last season. It’ll be important in these forthcoming calculations.

Goals: Above Average

Similar to what we’ll see in a second, this statistic tracks how Fleury has performed in regards to a league average goaltender. Specifically, this number looks at the amount of goals Fleury prevented above the league average goaltender.

A league-average goaltender would allow (1 – League Average SV%) * (Shots Faced) goals, and so:

GD = ((1 – League Average SV%) * (Shots Faced)) – (Goals Against)

Fleury: .151

The difference is almost unnoticeable. Fleury’s save percentage of .921% is actually the league average in and of itself!

Goals Above Replacement

This statistic attempts to solve for how much better a specific goaltender is versus a replacement level goaltender. Don’t take league average the wrong way, plenty of goaltenders play to league average and have very fruitful careers as a result. Goals: Above Average is great, but average isn’t exactly bad, which is why we got to this next level.

For the calculation, we defined replacement-level as 1.5% below the league average.

Fleury: 5.686

So, in the games played this year, Fleury has allowed 5.686 goals against above replacement level. That’s about .4 goals per game less than the league replacement level.

So, for the early part of the season, we get a gauge that at about 26 shots against per game, Fleury’s play in the scope of the NHL right now is simply average at best.

We’ll continue to stop back and look at these numbers throughout the regular season.