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2015-16 Pensburgh Recap: Jeff Zatkoff

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Veteran goaltender returned to NHL and won a playoff game.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Age: 29 (6/9/1987)

Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent (expired 2-year deal at $600,00 cap hit). - General Fanager contract history

HockeyDB Player Stats

2015-2016 Stats:

Save Percentage during 5-on-5 action: Murray 93.44, Fleury 93.27 and Zatkoff 92.13

Puckalytics.com - Zatkoff Page

Top 10 goalies with 10-20 games played (excluding Carey Price) in Save Percentage:

Zatkoff Stats puckalytics.com

Blogger: During the playoffs, Zatkoff wrote a blog for NHL.com to provide a player's perspective for a Stanley Cup run. I think the blogging got to his head before game six (ha).... actually, he was really good and highly recommend checking out his thoughts throughout the playoff run.

Before I leave you today, there is something I quickly need to address. It appears as if no one in the NHL is taking me seriously as a blogger. My press credentials have yet to show up to get me into San Jose press box. Once again I am relegated to the basement to watch the game on a 10-second delay. Not too happy about that.

Don't worry though, I'm a true professional and promise not to let that get in the way of my work.

The Good: Zatkoff wasn't trusted much by former Penguin head coach Dan Bylsma and the organization seemed to agree as the netminder saw just one game in the previous season, Mike Johnston's first. By the time Sullivan arrived in Pittsburgh, he had a solid three months of watching Murray and knew enough about Fleury as the franchise goalie. After all the doubt, Zatkoff never stopped fighting and as much as his stats showed little hope, he raised his level in game one against the Rangers. When you look back on the 16-win Stanley Cup champions, we'll never forget the man who made the first W happen.

GIF/Video: Game 1 at home against the Rangers, Zatkoff huge save keeps it a 2-0 lead.

Outlook: Jim Rutherford made it sound rather clear, Penguins are more than happy to go into the 2016-2017 season with Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray as his top two goaltenders. The 2017 expansion draft requirements will mean Fleury has to be protected because of his no movement clause, so unless the Penguins can move the franchise goaltender, they risk losing Murray for nothing. I expect Rutherford to wait around until later in the offseason before engaging Zatkoff on a 2-way deal. If Murray proves he can repeat his playoff performance (actually, hope to see improvements), then Fleury will probably feel differently about is role on the team, which opens the door for Zatkoff to slide in from the AHL as the backup.