Toronto Could Be a Perfect Landing Spot for Blackhawks Goaltender Marc-André Fleury

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Toronto Could Be a Perfect Landing Spot for Blackhawks Goaltender Marc-André Fleury

Chicago Blackhawks

We’ve got more Marc-André Fleury discussion this morning! If the Blackhawks can get Fleury on board, the Toronto Maple Leafs seem like a landing spot that could work for all parties involved, and the Blackhawks could end up with a first-rounder out of the deal.

But before we get to the news, let’s back up a bit for context. On Monday morning, Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reported that Marc-André Fleury’s agent Allan Walsh, said, “No decisions have been made, all options still on the table” regarding the goaltenders future with the Blackhawks as it pertains to the impending NHL trade deadline, which is now 13 days away.

At this point, if Kyle Davidson is going to keep the handshake agreement in place and let Fleury decide what happens to him at the NHL trade deadline, he would be wise to start working out a deal that allows Fleury to go somewhere where he can compete for a Stanley Cup, and potentially re-up with that team to minimize the number of times he has to move his family around, a known priority to him.

So back to the new stuff.

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs be the partner that Kyle Davidson is looking for? On Monday morning, Frank Seravalli joined the JD Bunkis and the crew at The Fan Morning Show on Sportsnet, and Seravalli pegs the Maple Leafs as a potential landing spot for Fleury. Toronto needs an elite goaltender, the Blackhawks (might) have one available, and Seravalli thinks it’s entirely possible that if Chicago is willing to retain 50 percent ($3.5 million) of Fleury’s salary (something they should be willing to do, given the long-term needs of an organization at the outset of another rebuild), the Blackhawks could get a first-rounder out of Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs.

Seravalli also opined that the Blackhawks might be interested in taking back Leafs goaltender Petr Mrázek and his $3.8 million cap hit back in a trade for Fleury instead of retaining half of Fleury’s cap hit. Mrázek hasn’t been great in limited action this season, posting a 3.28 GAA and .890 save percentage over 15 games. And he missed significant time this season with a groin injury. But while his numbers aren’t great, he’s a perfect placeholder on a rebuilding team with a career GAA of 2.63 and 138 wins in 263 starts (and, anyway, the focus here is about eating money for a better return, his performance is somewhat secondary).

The veteran net minder comes with two additional years of control at that same cap number ($3.8 million).

The other possible route that Toronto and Chicago can explore is getting a third team involved in the Fluery trade to slash Fleury’s salary one more time. In that scenario, Toronto would get Fleury at a cap hit of roughly $1.7 million, the third team would get an asset in exchange for taking on a small portion of Fleury’s cap hit, and the Blackhawks would walk away with a potential first-rounder. Either way, it’s found money for the Blackhawks, who traded a low-level prospect to Vegas for Fleury in the first place. I guess that was a pretty solid move after all, even if it didn’t quite work out the way we envisioned before the season.

Well, to be sure, it all sounds great, but this is still contingent on what Marc-André Fleury actually wants to do.

I also want to say this; Kyle Davidson doesn’t have to honor the agreement to allow Fleury to decide his fate at this deadline. But it would be a bad look if the new GM didn’t. Making the veteran (and widely respected among his peers) goaltender happy in this deal will go a long way towards Davidson (a first-time GM) earning some good faith with players around the NHL.



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.