Marc-André Fleury came to the Chicago Blackhawks from the Vegas Golden Knights essentially for free. Now, with Vegas in need of a healthy top-tier goaltenders, could Fleury be headed back to the Golden Knights and at a “profit” for the Blackhawks?
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, interest in a reunion has been discussed. Vegas is reportedly going through their potential options, and Fleury is part of that search.
Team sources say the Golden Knights have expressed interest in a potential reunion with goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury…Fleury is not alone on a list of potential targets. Per sources, the Golden Knights have also expressed interest in New York Rangers backup Alexandar Georgiev, who we previously reported let it be known that Georgiev feels he’s ready for a bigger opportunity elsewhere. There are likely others.
Fleury won the 2021 Vezina Trophy with the Golden Knights last season, but with both him and former Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner on the books making starting goaltender money, Vegas off-loaded Fleury to Chicago for prospect Mikael Hakkarainen, eventually terminating Hakkarainen’s deal, making Fleury’s trade a free ticket to Chicago. Now, Lehner is dealing with a shoulder injury that will reportedly require surgery and the Golden Knights, currently sitting atop the Pacific Division, are in need of insurance in net.
The Blackhawks have made it pretty clear that, although Fleury only has a ten-team no-trade clause on the final year of his current deal ($7M AAV), Chicago won’t be sending him anywhere he doesn’t want to go. To that end, Fleury has been linked to the Washington Capitals for some time, but that potential deal has seemingly been taken off the table.
The 37-year-old has also expressed his focus is on trying to get Chicago into the postseason, but at 18-24-7 and 12 points out of the wildcard picture, the Blackhawks making a playoff push doesn’t feel like a possibility.
While Vegas would seem to be an easy fit for Fleury to go back into the community and into the locker room that was so familiar to him for the past few seasons, there would need to be some form of reconciliation between him and the front office, as Seravalli explains:
There would be many fences to mend. Fleury did not hold back in expressing his disappointment in the way his departure was managed by McCrimmon. The Golden Knights fanbase did not, either.
If Lehner’s injury forced him to go on LTIR, the Golden Knights would have more cap flexibility to fit Fleury’s deal, so Chicago potentially needing to retain up to half of Fleury’s salary in the deal may not be a factor. If Fleury wants to go back to Vegas, Chicago would/should oblige. If they can get valuable draft capitals and/or a top-end prospect or two out of the deal, it’s a win for the Blackhawks in the end.
We’ll see how this plays out as the March 21 NHL Trade Deadline approaches.