The 2021-22 season is not short on storylines for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Of course, one of the biggest on-ice stories of the season will continue to be centered around Marc-André Fleury. Traded to Chicago for minor-leaguer Mikael Hakkarainen, whom the Golden Knights released not more than a few days later, Fleury nearly called it a career this offseason. Fleury took some time to contemplate what his next move should be, for his family and for his career, ultimately deciding to come to the Blackhawks for the 2021-22 campaign, the last year remaining on his contract. And, as it turns out, this season could also be the last of his impressive career.
During the NHL Media Tour this week in Chicago, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of the “31 Thoughts” Podcast talked with Fleury about his offseason, the trade, and what is next for him in Chicago and beyond.
Marc-Andre Fleury says the upcoming season "could be" the last campaign in his Hall of Fame career.https://t.co/p2uhAEaYB1
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 17, 2021
The the full interview with Fleury will be released soon, but it was notable within the podcast episode that Friedman, Marek, and Fleury talked about the possibility that this season with Chicago could end up being Fleury’s last in his NHL career.
From the interview:
“The day will come. I’m not sure when. I’m not sure how, why,” Fleury said. “I’m getting older right? The body feels it some days. A lot of days… but when I get out there I still feel like a young guy.
“I know it will come. I’m not sure when, but I’m sure soon. So I just try to enjoy what I have right now and go one year at a time.”
One year at a time? Is there a chance this is Fleury’s last season in the NHL?
“Could be,” he said with a laugh.
Coming off of a year in 2020-21 that saw him post his career-bests in save percentage (.928) and GAA (1.98), and win his first-ever Vezina Trophy, Fleury brings some incredibly high expectations with him to the Blackhawks. A team that has not won a Stanley Cup Playoff round since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks have put an end to their “rebuild” this summer with Fleury and Seth Jones as key additions to the club.
Fleury is coming to Chicago with the hopes and intentions that he will play the entire season with the Blackhawks, not be traded at the deadline, and that he will help the club get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, something they have not done in a full 82-game season since the 2016-17 campaign.
On a somewhat unrelated note, Fleury’s mask designer had some trouble getting designs approved.
Marc-André Fleury’s Mask Designer Had Three Designs Denied By The Blackhawks Over “Racial Tensions”https://t.co/3auRhMHG8d
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) September 17, 2021