Who's No. 1?
Marc-Andre Fleury, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 Entry Draft, finally emerged as a top-flight NHL goaltender last season. His 40 victories were third-best in the NHL and three short of the Penguins' record set by Tom Barrasso. Fleury has played 2 1/2 NHL seasons, going 4-14-2 with a weak Pittsburgh team in 2004 after making the jump from junior hockey. The lockout season that followed was good for Fleury — he went 26-19-4 for Wilkes-Barre in the AHL without having to worry about an NHL callup. He posted a 13-27-6 mark in Pittsburgh in 2005-06. But his 40-16-9 record last season, which evened his career record at 57-57-2-15, provided Pittsburgh management and fans with the confidence he can backstop a championship quality team.
Dany Sabourin and Ty Conklin both signed as free agents this summer but Sabourin has a one-way contract and Conklin a two-way deal. That probably means Conklin is headed for Wilkes-Barre while Sabourin backs up Fleury — even though Sabourin is just 2-8-1 in 14 NHL games. It's a second look for Sabourin with Pittsburgh. He was drafted by Calgary back in 1998 and played four years in the Flames’ minor-league system before Pittsburgh signed him in 2005. He had a 30-14-4 season in Wilkes-Barre two years and was claimed on waivers by Vancouver last year, where he struggled in extremely limited action behind Roberto Luongo. Pittsburgh signed him again this summer.
Conklin has been an NHL starter — three years ago with Edmonton. He struggled the next year, was replaced and then made a huge mistake in the Stanley Cup Finals. He has since played sparingly for Columbus and Buffalo. At 31, he needs to regain his confidence and form.
In the Wings
David Brown -- Brown also is slated to go to Wilkes-Barre. At Notre Dame, Brown was the top collegiate goalie in the country last season with a 30-6-3 record, a 1.58 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
John Curry -- The former Boston University goalie will likely start with Wheeling of the ECHL. Curry went 59-29-15 with a 2.08 GAA over 106 games in three seasons with the Terriers.