Report: Edmonton, Colorado, and Washington Are the Teams to Watch for a Marc-André Fleury Trade

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Report: Edmonton, Colorado, and Washington Are the Teams to Watch for a Marc-André Fleury Trade

Chicago Blackhawks

Without Marc-André Fleury, the 2022 Chicago Blackhawks could very likely be staring directly at selecting Shane Wright first overall in the 2022 NHL Draft. Instead, Chicago (15-18-6) is on the bubble between an unlikely playoff chase … and tanking for the NHL Draft Lottery. Worse, they don’t hold their 2022 first-round pick, unless it ends up being the first or second-overall selection. So ironically, given the need for a proper rebuild, Fleury has probably actually screwed things up for Chicago. Not that it’s his fault.

In reality, this is Stan Bowman’s screw-up. He was the one who sold Fleury on the idea that Chicago would be contending this season (and thus that he wouldn’t be traded half-way through the year). Remember how Fleury was on the bubble of retiring after news of the trade?

But like it or not, Fleury has now found himself in a situation he didn’t expect: He could be traded a second time in as many as eight months. In his latest trade list for The Athletic, Eric Duhatschek offers some details on which contender may make the most sense:

But if the hunger to win is still there, and an opportunity is presented to him, Fleury moving at the deadline could tip the Stanley Cup scales in one team’s direction maybe more significantly than any other player currently on the board. Is Edmonton legit? No one can really say for sure. So, maybe if Darcy Kuemper continues to have an up-and-down year, Colorado could make a push for Fleury.

And for what it’s worth, Mark Lazerus (The Athletic) said something similar, adding Washington (and to a lesser extent, Pittsburgh) to the mix: “But Fleury’s special. And he’s won before. So keep an eye on teams such as Edmonton and Washington, who fancy themselves contenders but have had middling-to-poor goaltending. Or maybe even Pittsburgh, who must still be casting a wary eye at Tristan Jarry, no matter how well he plays in the regular season.”

Edmonton is currently in a free-fall out of the Stanley Cup playoff picture, having lost 12 of their last 15 games dating back to December 1 (3-10-2). They have allowed the third-most goals per game (3.87) during that stretch of games and goaltenders Mikko Koskinen, Mike Smith, and Stuart Skinner have combined for the league’s second-lowest team save-percentage (.875) since December 1. Edmonton also holds the league’s lowest PDO since December 1, a 0.957-marker. They need goaltending help, but GM Ken Holland has expressed that making changes at the goaltender position is not on their radar.

If I were him, I’d reconsider that.

Colorado makes more sense from a legitimate contender standpoint, with the Avalanche sitting atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings currently. Darcy Kuemper has been hot and cold this season, but ultimately not terrible at 17-5-1 with a .908 save-percentage and a 2.72 GAA. He does, however, hold a -0.97 Goals saved above average (GSAA) marker this season and leads the NHL in Goal Support per 60-minutes at 4.11. Fleury this season holds a .916 save-percentage and 2.69 GAA, with a 5.58 GSAA and is doing so with a 2.33 goal support per 60-minutes marker.

The problem with Colorado is two-fold: cap space and draft capital. They have neither. If Chicago is going to trade Fleury, they are going to want to re-coup a 2022 first-round pick as well as get future pieces to a rebuilding puzzle. Colorado doesn’t have their 2022 first, second, or fourth-round picks and their NHL-ready prospect pipeline is headline by Alex Newhook and Bowen Byram, two players I would doubt the Avalanche want to lose for a rental in Fleury.

The Capitals are currently in a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting in third-place in the Metropolitan Division, two points ahead of the first wildcard team in the Pittsburgh Penguins. They have been led by a trio of under-proven goaltenders with Ilya Samsonov, Vitek Vancek, and Zach Fucale. None of them have been poor performers this season for the Capitals, unlike what we’ve seen in Edmonton, but if Washington wanted to make another deep run at a Stanley Cup while Alex Ovechkin is still having elite seasons at the age of 36, Fleury would be a target to make sure they had a goaltender who has been there and done that. Imagine Fleury and Ovechkin, adversaries for so many years between the Penguins and Capitals, and in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Golden Knights, teaming together for a Cup-run. That would be a wild NHL script.

There’s also the possibility that Fleury navigates his ten-team no-trade clause in his contract and decides to play in Chicago the full season. He probably doesn’t want to subject himself or his family to another move, since it was already a point to get them to Chicago. It would be a disservice to the Blackhawks if Fleury were not to be moved, since he is the player they could get the most back for, but it’s also under his control.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.