The Pittsburgh Penguins apparently want Marc-Andre Fleury back. The Vegas Golden Knights haven’t, and aren’t, budging.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported the Penguins have tried “very hard” since the offseason to re-acquire their former three-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie. The Golden Knights have passed on multiple occasions.
Former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford was at the forefront of those talks during the offseason. Interim Penguins GM Patrik Allvin tried as recently as “a couple of weeks” ago, but Vegas has insisted on ‘no.’
The allure of a Fleury-Penguins reunion makes sense. Fleury spent the first 13 years of his career in Pittsburgh. The Penguins left him unprotected in the 2017 expansion draft, and the Golden Knights jumped at the chance to take him.
The Penguins are in desperate need of a goalie right now. Casey DeSmith and Tristan Jarry are both pitching under .890 in save percentage. Jarry, who signed a three-year extension on Oct. 3, became the starting netminder after Pittsburgh traded Matt Murray to Ottawa.
Fleury is 96-50-14 with a .915 save percentage with Vegas. He’s led them to the playoffs in all three seasons, including a Stanley Cup Final berth in Year 1.
Once upon a time, trading Fleury seemed like the only plausible move to get the Golden Knights under the salary cap.
After signing Robin Lehner to a five-year extension at $5 million AAV following the Stanley Cup Playoff bubble in Edmonton, there was no way Vegas was prepared to commit $12 million combined for two goalies.
Vegas still had to clear cap room despite trading Paul Stastny and Nate Schmidt. Those were just moves to sign Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year deal.
Alas, Vegas still needed clear space after that. Waiving defenseman Nick Holden cleared up the necessary space to carry this team — and $12 million in goaltending — through this season.
Turns out, the Golden Knights have made this goalie tandem work through 10 games. The decision to not trade Fleury has also proven fruitful/
The future Hall-of-Famer is 5-0-0 to start this condensed season, has a save percentage of .920 and a goals-against average of 1.80. That’s even after allowing four goals for the first time this season Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.
However long the Golden Knights can choose to keep Fleury down the road is a mystery. He’s said he wants to retire here eventually. But given how good Fleury’s been, don’t expect a trade any time soon unless it’s a king’s ransom.
Danny Webster covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. Follow him on Twitter @DannyWebster21.