The day would have passed without notice until everything changed at the NHL trade deadline in February, but instead, the NHL trade rumors are percolating. Tuesday was the deadline for Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and his agent Allan Walsh to submit his 10 team no-trade clause to GM Kelly McCrimmon.
Per Fleury’s limited no-trade clause, he has the right to block a trade to 10 teams. The NHL trade rumors exploded at the worst time. Late in the Western Conference Final, ESPN reported a handshake deal between Lehner and the team on a new contract.
Lehner has denied the rumor.
Fleury’s contract is a big obstacle for any trade. The deal will pay him $7 million for the next two seasons. He was the marquee player when Golden Knights selected their original team via expansion draft three seasons ago. However, everything changed when the team acquired 1A goalie Robin Lehner from Chicago at the trade deadline.
New head coach Pete DeBoer took an instant shine to Lehner, who was brilliant after the trade. In the regular season (before the pandemic pause), he was 3-0-0 with a .940 save percentage. Lehner became the go-to goalie in the NHL playoffs, too.
Fleury only started three playoff games and did not make consecutive starts despite a couple of sparkling performances that belied his .910 save percentage.
The affable goalie, who has been the face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise since it’s inaugural moments, started 49 games this season but slumped to a 27-16-5 record with a .905 save percentage.
Fleury will join former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Matt Murray as the premier goalies in the NHL trade discussions on the already flooded goalie market. The list of available goalies includes pending free agent and 2018 Stanley Cup winner Braden Holtby, ex of the Washington Capitals, and likely Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars.
Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederick Anderson and Arizona Coyotes puck stopper Darcy Kuemper are also on the growing list of available goalies.
TSN Insider Darren Dreger mused that Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, could make the process more difficult by excluding prime suitors from the list and including teams which are unlikely to have an interest.
Walsh also made headlines during the playoffs when he tweeted (then later deleted) artwork, which depicted Marc-Andre Fleury stabbed in the back by the Golden Knights’ sword, which included the name DeBoer on the blade.
Last season, Phil Kessel famously engineered his own trade out of Pittsburgh when his no-trade list effectively removed all interested teams except the Arizona Coyotes. Kessel even vetoed a trade to the Minnesota Wild.
Fleury, 35, is the winningest active goalie in the NHL (466 wins) and fifth all-time. He is 18 wins behind Ed Belfour (484) and 23 wins behind Roberto Luongo (489) for third place all-time.
Fleury was the Pittsburgh Penguins first-round pick and first overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft. In 156 games for Vegas over three seasons, Fleury has a 91-50-14 record with a .915 save percentage.
He finished fifth in Vezina Trophy voting in 2017-18, and fourth in 2018-19. Last season, Marc-Andre Fleury also garnered Hart Trophy votes and finished 17th.
Among the teams currently hot in the NHL trade rumors to be goalie-shopping are the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, and Carolina Hurricanes.