There’s not much Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t accomplished over his NHL career. Part of five Stanley Cup Finals and winner of three of them, the 35-year-old goaltender has been fortunate to play on competitive teams for most of his career, but here’s something fans and I doubt even Fleury is aware of.
Fleury currently holds the longest active playoff streak of any individual player across the four major sports leagues in North America. This postseason will mark Fleury’s 14th consecutive trip to the playoffs, a streak unmatched by even Tom Brady, LeBron James, and Sidney Crosby.
Fleury played in his first NHL playoff series at the age of 22 back in 2007, and he hasn’t missed a postseason yet.
Marc-Andre Fleury’s Playoff Run
14 Straight Postseasons
142 Games Played
78-62 Postseason Record
5 Stanley Cup Appearances
3 Stanley Cup Rings
Most would’ve assumed that Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were on the same path, but both missed the entire 2011 postseason due to injuries. Another former teammate Chris Kunitz was ahead of Fleury but broke his streak last year as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. So currently, the Golden Knights goaltender leads the entire league in appearances in 14 straight postseasons.
The athlete that is the closest to Fleury plays in the NBA. It’ll shock you. New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter J.J. Redick is technically tied with Fleury with appearances in 13 straight postseasons. However, in the NBA’s loopy return-to-play format, Redick and the Pelicans have eight regular season games, and then some to clinch a playoff bid. So while Fleury is already locked in at 14 consecutive, Redick still has some hurdles to jump.
The NBA’s return-to-play plan includes the top eight teams in each conference along with Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix and Washington. Those are the league’s top 22 teams in overall record.
Each team will play eight regular-season games. If the teams in eight and ninth place are separated by four games or fewer, a play-in tournament between those teams for the final playoff spot in each conference would occur. The team in ninth must beat the team in eighth twice in a row to advance; the team in eighth only needs to beat the team in ninth once.-NOLA.com
See what I mean? Redick is going to need eight straight triple-doubles from Zion Williamson to keep his streak alive. I’m not an NBA expert, but I’d guess Fleury will be on a consecutive postseason appearance streak by himself.
In the NFL, the New England Patriots have the longest consecutive playoff appearance streak with 11 seasons in a row. Naturally, Tom Brady, along with some other former teammates, share the current individual streak, but they still come up short of Fleury’s mark.
Major League Baseball had seen incredible postseason runs in the past from the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees, two teams that largely kept their stars together. Lately however, postseason appearance streaks haven’t been as epic. Several major leaguers lead baseball with seven consecutive trips to October baseball but nothing significant. Far behind Derek Jeter’s 12-year run, but heck, if playing today, Jeter would trail Fleury as well.
While impressive as it is, I highly doubt the goaltender is even mindful of this accomplishment. Redick is well aware of his streak, and playfully threatened his teammates not “to blow it” for him. That’s not Fleury, and he’s the man on top.
Just for reference, the longest consecutive NHL playoff season streaks were set by Larry Robinson (1973-1992) and Nicklas Lidstrom (1992-2012) with 20 straight trips to the postseason. At 35-years of age, I doubt Fleury will try and chase down a record but I know some local fans that would love for him to try.