Sebastien Caron had himself a good season last year on a way below average team. Not to mention, was a first team All-rookie goaltender last year. The fact that he's accomplished that at such a young age and on such a terrible team, that's speaks volumes.
However, this season is much different. It's my belief that the Penguins D has somewhat improved (anything's better than last year).
Caron isn't playing badly, but is clearly being outplayed by Marc-Andre Fleury. I know people have their own personal dogmas about preseason games, but in his first two professional games, he's faced 53 shots and saved 50 of them. This is not against bad teams with bad farm systems either. The Islanders shelled him in the first period of his first game, and he stoned them all. He also won against Joe Thorthon, Sergei Samsanov, and the Bruins. These are marquee names and teams that's he's beaten so far.
Fleury's getting rave reviews from around the league. So should he be starting at 18? Or should Caron, young as well, but more experienced start?
Well, there are two trains of thought on the matter. One is that the Spine is an important piece of equipment within the human body and cannot be removed without causing catostrophic results. Other scientists, however, feel that it acts like a Leggo and can be removed and replaced at will without major difficulties. I think our friend subscribes to the latter.
OR, they don't play Fleury at all and send him back to juniors. Don't get me wrong, from what I've read the kid seems like he'd be able to play (especially for PIT), but if he played this year he'd lose his junior eligibility all together. This only becomes a problem in the event of an actual lockout / strike next year. Instead of potentially being able to play in the minors (and not lose out on any development), Fleury would be sitting on his a*s just like everyone else. Something to think about.
Play him right away (which might still be early) and potentially have him not play next year or send him back to juniors and guarantee him a place to play next year, strike or no strike. What do you think???
I don't think that they're going to risk his development by rushing him. Chance are they won't make the playoffs so why rush your young stud goalie. I would use Caron, most likely finish close to last (like they would be much better with Fleury in net anyways) and draft another top end talent. In a couple years after Fleury has developed and is NHL ready the Pens could be a force.