One of the latest teams named in the Marc-Andre Fleury derby is the Minnesota Wild. The connection makes sense with Bill Guerin as GM and the Wild having shipped out Devan Dubnyk to the San Jose Sharks this week. But to make a Fleury trade happen requires more than just two teams deciding to make a trade.
Discussions to make a Fleury trade revolve largely around a third team being involved in a deal, taking some of the remaining $14M in salary over the next two seasons. According to the latest TSN Insider Trading video, TSN’s Frank Seravalli says that the VGK have been trying to work with several teams to fill that role including the Carolina Hurricanes. The issue lies in the price that Vegas is willing to pay. Seravalli reports Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon wants to trade a second round pick to a team to retain up to half ($3.5M per year for two years). But a second round pick was called “way too low” a price for other teams according to Seravalli. The price suggested for that kind of salary retention is both a first and second round draft pick.
With round one of the NHL Entry Draft tonight, the decision to move this year’s first round pick would have to come quickly. Vegas cannot afford to carry $12M in goaltenders, especially when the higher-priced option is the backup. It’s very clear Fleury’s time in Vegas has come to a close, but now the Golden Knights have to pay the price for the decision that’s been made. It’s not a negative or a knock, having Lehner inked to a five-year deal at a reasonable salary is great security. But in today’s cap and cash-strapped world, this is the economic reality of sport.
Fleury is the first of many dominoes to come, with other potential moves on the horizon this week prior to free agency. Expect Vegas to be one of the busier teams this week as they look to rearrange salary to make a big splash in free agency.
Will Vegas pay the price? Does Fleury end up in Minnesota? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Without Lundqvist, Could Washington Chase Fleury?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pacioretty: Trade Rumors “Lightweight Stuff”
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:
Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty on hearing his name in trade rumors this offseason: "I played in Montreal for 10 years, so this is lightweight stuff. I've heard a lot worse. … This is nothing." #VegasBorn
— David Schoen 📰🗞🏒 (@DavidSchoenLVRJ) December 15, 2020
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.
Tom’s Daily: VGK Trade Rumors, Mighty Ducks to Return
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)
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)
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+.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers continues the legacy of hockey's finest fowls. 🏒 The series picks up where the films left off. Emilio Estevez returns as Gordon Bombay and @thelaurengraham is joining the flock. Coming to @DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/r6JwLDYzmx
— Disney (@Disney) December 10, 2020