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.