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Top Five Potential Vegas Trade Spots for Marc-Andre Fleury

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Marc-Andre Fleury Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights trade rumors appear to be true and the writing on the wall for Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights goaltending situation. It makes more sense for them to move him and his $7M cap hit for the next two years now, especially if the word about Robin Lehner signing a five-year deal is true.

Keep in mind Fleury does have a limited No Movement Clause. His list of ten teams he would not accept a trade to was due this week, and we’ve seen players like Phil Kessel orchestrate those blocks in a way that forces the team’s hand. Not that Fleury would do this, but after the whole DeBoer sword cartoon episode, it’s clear there is some type of divide.

The actual cash out in the deal is $6.5M this season and $6M in the 2021-22 season. While it’s not a major difference, it does mean that a team with more cap room than actual cash might welcome an extra million dollars on the cap register.

Some of these teams would have to make room for Fleury. All five listed need a goalie who can win now and make them better over the next two seasons before his contract expires.

Note: I’m assuming the NHL does not grant compliance buyouts this summer, but it is possible they do because of the pandemic and the cap remaining flat. If that happens, expect buyouts on goalies like Corey Schneider (NJD) and Martin Jones (SJS). Any team that does buy out a goalie gets to move rapidly towards the front of the line for Fleury. Also, teams like Buffalo, Ottawa and Detroit were omitted because they were not likely places Fleury would allow himself to end up, but stranger things have happened.

Top 5 Potential Vegas Trade Partners for Fleury

Honorable Mention: Chicago Blackhawks

I think Chicago needs to move on from Corey Crawford, who is a UFA this summer. Will they? Probably not. The Hawks showed they still have some life left in the potential runs for Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith et. al. But for whatever reason when Chicago had a choice between a superior Robin Lehner and Crawford, they picked the latter. We know now the fallout from that as Lehner landed in Vegas and I’m writing an article about where Marc-Andre Fleury will end up. Can you imagine if Lehner had stayed in Chicago? They might have made a seriously deep run. If the Hawks come to their senses and dump Crawford my opinion would change. But don’t bet on it.

5. Ottawa Senators

Could Fleury finish his career close to home? The Ottawa Senators are one of several teams looking for a starting goalie and they have enough assets and prospects to fill a bowl of poutine, twice over, including a few first-round picks.

Ottawa has young Marcus Hogberg, but he did not excel in his first NHL stint this season. Hogberg, 25, is a big Swedish goalie but it took the 2013 third-round pick forever to get to the NHL. He was 5-8-8 with only a .904 save percentage.

Ottawa was a scrappy, competitive team, even if they had the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. What could they accomplish with Fleury in net and Fleury in the room, perhaps contend for the playoffs and that playoff revenue?

Ottawa could well be on Fleury’s no-trade list since they will not soon contend for a Stanley Cup, but Fleury might also be the perfect fit.

4) Edmonton Oilers

I’ve never been a believer in Mike Smith’s ability to take a team to a Stanley Cup. He’s too injury prone and too streaky. But I also don’t think Mikko Koskinen is that guy either. Smith is UFA this summer and at 38 I don’t see why Edmonton would bring him back. Koskinen is more of a concern because $4.5M is a lot to pay a guy in a backup role, but a Fleury trade would definitely give the Oilers a shot in the arm immediately. Edmonton doesn’t have any immediately scary decisions to make about the roster, and currently carries $10.5M in cap room.

This is a team so loaded upfront we often wonder why they don’t do more damage, but it’s pretty plain to see they’ve never had the defense and goaltending to complement the forwards. Until that day comes, Edmonton will be the team that looks dangerous but can’t make it over the hump. Getting Fleury in net would be a major upgrade.

3. Calgary Flames

Oh, what could have been for Calgary. They were close to being a contender in the Western Conference bubble, but then it was gone in a week. While Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau took a lion share of the blame, Calgary could use a bonafide No. 1 goalie, too.

Cam Talbot will move on to other pastures, and David Rittich has not locked down the job. Perhaps Rittich would be the perfect 1A for Fleury, who could invigorate the young Calgary lineup.

Rittich is signed for one more year at a manageable $2.75 million. Calgary has about $17 million to ink a few defensemen, but Fleury’s salary fits here.

2) Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina is one of those teams I look at and think they should always be battling it out for the division title and threatening to make noise in the playoffs. Yet neither James Reimer nor Petr Mrazek has clearly run away with the starting mantle. While Mrazek was the starter for the Canes in these playoffs, we did see Reimer a few times and he looked good for the most part. Both goalies are signed for just over $3M this upcoming season and both will be UFAs come next summer.

If one of those salaries were removed from the books (and in this case, I think if the VGK take back either one of these two guys as a backup to Lehner for one year it makes perfect sense) then a Fleury trade can easily fit under the cap on a team with $7.7M of current projected space. With only three UFAs who figure to be relatively inexpensive to retain if they so choose Carolina does have some flexibility. Five of the six defensive spots are set as well. Now the question is will Carolina make the move to shift things around in net? Stay tuned.

1) Minnesota Wild

The Wild hit the top spot on this list as a team that is so close to putting it all together, but ended up with Alex Staylock as its playoff starter after the confidence in Devan Dubnyk evaporated. While Dubnyk is due one more year at $4.33M, moving him or possibly buying him out isn’t the worst option for a team with almost $12M in current cap space.

There’s also the GM Bill Guerin-Fleury connection from their time together in Pittsburgh. Guerin knows full well what Fleury means inside the locker room and on the ice.

Minnesota just locked up Jonas Brodin long-term, which means the defense has been addressed for the foreseeable future. The real problem for Minnesota would be the 2021-22 season, when they would then have seven players under contract for $6M or more per year and facing UFA deals for forwards Marcus Johansson, Marcus Foligno, and Nick Bjugstad. Then add a potential whopper of a raise for RFA Kevin Fiala if he continues his upward rise. Defensively the Wild’s top four is set unless they try to move the $6M cap hit of Matt Dumba, which seems more likely with the signing of Brodin.

The Wild could make a Fleury trade for next season and see how things go before making a decision. Either way, Minnesota is retooling, not rebuilding. They showed that with some quality goaltending they may have been capable of much more.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments for what team you think a Fleury trade makes the most sense! 

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Vegas Hockey Now Editor-in-chief. Host, creator online hockey show @talkingpucktv. Yes I called NHL games.

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Carnage In Rome

Do you think Vegas would be willing to eat some of Fleury’s salary to entice a better trade?

[…] now as Vegas considers whether to trade Fleury, buy him out or somehow find the room to keep him (unlikely), they face the uncertainty of who fills […]

Vegas Trade Talk

Without Lundqvist, Could Washington Chase Fleury?

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Washington Capitals Marc-Andre Fleury VGK Golden Knights

Henrik Lundqvist announced today that he won’t be suiting up for the Washington Capitals this season due to a heart condition. While he didn’t completely close the door on playing again he did say that medical tests made it clear that playing hockey is not what he should be doing right now. While Lundqvist spends the next several months figuring out what’s next, the Capitals find themsleves without a goaltender. Is there a fit for Marc-Andre Fleury in Washington?

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Let’s start with the basics. Lundqvist was due just $1.5M on a one-year contract with the Caps this season. That cap hit will go away with him on LTIR. Then there’s Michal Kempny, who had off-season surgery to repair a torn Achilles which puts him out 6-8 months. Kempny carries an AAV of $2.5M and placing him on LTIR frees up more space. So now the Caps are able to maneuver a bit more with $4M of LTIR space. Once they trade a contract back to Vegas, we can make the math work.

It’s no secret the Golden Knights would be spending a lot of money on goalies if Fleury remains on the roster. Fleury has a cap hit of $7M each year for the next two years, and Vegas has to retain half of his salary to make the following numbers really work. With the groundwork in place, let’s take a look at some options for the beloved Marc-Andre Fleury.

Carl Hagelin

To me, the guy who makes the most sense coming back to Vegas is Carl Hagelin. With three years left on his deal at an AAV of $2.75M the math can work for the Golden Knights. Vegas could retain that $3.5M of salary for Fleury and just get under the salary cap.

Hagelin is one of those guys who puts up decent NHL numbers in terms of points (30+ in a good year) during the regular season. Come playoffs, he’s a sought-after piece of the puzzle. He works hard and brings intangibles to a third-line role, plus has the experience of winning a pair of Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

The 32-year-old vet had a good regular season in Washington, but like many players struggled in the bubble. It was a rare poor showing for Hagelin, but the Caps also didn’t look very good as a team either. Hagelin has appeared in a whopping 136 playoff games in his career. That’s tied for 19th among active players with Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, and Kris Letang. Pretty heady company.

More than anything, that playoff experience is what the Golden Knights could really use most. There’s no doubt this team is a regular-season monster, deep and talented. But to get over that final hump and hoist the Stanley Cup, Hagelin might be that third-line glue guy.

Michal Kempny

Well, there’s always Kempny. A member of the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Capitals, he’s battled injuries since. He missed the 2019 playoffs and part of the 2020 season with a torn hamstring. Then in October, he tore his Achilles training and had surgery on it which will keep him out 6-8 months.

Kempny has one more year after this on his deal for $2.5M and will be 31 in September. If he’s healthy he’s a nice piece on the back end with championship experience for 2021-22. If he’s unable to rehab the injury and come back, then the money stays on LTIR for Vegas.

If Vegas were to trade for his $2.5M to stash on LTIR, it places them just barely under the cap and doesn’t ruffle the current defense. I like the current top six D for the VGK and this makes a lot of sense for me. Washington might have to do some figuring if they trade this cap hit, but they might not be done making moves yet anyway.

Nick Jensen

At this point, I don’t think moving Jensen’s $2.5M makes as much sense for Washington as it does for Vegas unless they’re comfortable with both Trevor van Riemsdyk and Jonas Siegenthaler in the top six D this season. However, if the Caps are comfortable with those two (or any other low-cost option) then the math works out similarly to Hagelin’s.

As far as the Golden Knights’ needs on defense, they’re looking good without Jensen. But if they were to acquire the 30-year-old rearguard it frees up the ability to make another move on the back end. I’m not sure that’s where this will end up going, but it does provide more depth for Vegas at a reasonable price.

Admittedly, this is not as likely a scenario but is still a possibility.

Analysis

There is a fit for Marc-Andre Fleury in Washington. Hagelin is the piece that I think the Golden Knights would most covet and for both teams, makes the most sense. There would be no further juggling required by either side. Plus Vegas gets a solid third-line player with a Stanley Cup pedigree. Combining him with Alex Tuch and Chandler Stephenson could yield a very strong third line for Vegas. If Fleury is ok going to DC, this might provide opportunity for both teams.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.
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NHL

Pacioretty: Trade Rumors “Lightweight Stuff”

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Max Pacioretty trade rumors Vegas Golden Knights training camp

Vegas Golden Knights fans have been through the rumor mill lately so many times it’s old hat. Max Pacioretty says it’s the same for him when it comes to trade rumors.

Recently Pacioretty trade rumors have reached their zenith, so much so that Golden Knights owner Bill Foley had to come out and say they’re not shopping him.

But to the former Montreal Canadien, those trade rumors are no big deal:

Speaking to David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Pacioretty dismissed the trade rumors as “lightweight stuff.”

Of course, Pacioretty ended up on the Golden Knights after months of being in the Montreal rumor mill. To say trade talk and speculation run rampant in Montreal is almost understating things. Canadiens fans and media love a good discussion about trades, and it’s not always kind.

Of course, the VGK have been front and center in NHL trade rumors ever since signing Alex Pietrangelo to his massive seven-year, $61.6M contract. By far the biggest free agent acquisition of the off-season, Pietrangelo’s deal put the Golden Knights over the cap by just under $1M, so something has to give.

Pacioretty has been a popular target for trade rumors among the national and local media, easy to understand when the target is a consistent 30-goal scorer who led the team in goals (32) and points (66) last season. Pacioretty, like Marc-Andre Fleury, carries a $7M AAV on his contract. He has three years left on the deal.

Keep an eye on VHN this week – it looks like the NHL is close to announcing a finalized plan for its return to play in January or February of 2021. Plus the Golden Knights still need to make a move or two to get under the cap.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.
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Tom's Daily

Tom’s Daily: VGK Trade Rumors, Mighty Ducks to Return

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Vegas Golden Knights, VHN logo

Tom’s Daily talks more trade rumors, a Wayne Gretzky rookie card sets a record, Disney is bringing back The Mighty Ducks,

Vegas Golden Knights

More and more names continue to get swept into the Golden Knights trade rumors pool. Let’s be honest, everyone has a price. That said, I think that while there is likely one more trade to be made, don’t get swept away in the rapidly flowing current.

Here’s a look at whether Jonathan Marchessault might not be a better acquisition for another team over Max Pacioretty. (NBC Sports)

It was only a matter of time before the name Alec Martinez ended up in the trade rumors too. Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period lists him among potential Golden Knights on the move. (The Fourth Period)

NHL

You can’t make all of the NHL owners, GMs and coaches happy all of the time. Especially when it comes to figuring out a new divisional alignment for this season. (Sportsnet)

Well of course they are. The NHL is facing backlash over reports it wants to buy COVID-19 vaccines privately. I’m sure every other league does too, but the NHL is getting roasted for it. (CityNews 1130)

Hockeyverse

A Wayne Gretzky rookie card just set a record, marking the first time a hockey card has sold for more than $1M (NHL.com)

A judge has left the door open for the family of the late Steve Montador to pursue legal action against the NHL after his ruling. (TSN)

They’re back! Picking up where the movies left off, Disney has announced the return of Gordon Bombay and The Mighty Ducks in a new series on Disney+.

Welcome to your new home for Vegas Golden Knights breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all of our members-only content the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.
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