Fresh off a thrilling Stanley Cup championship, it has been reported that Marc-Andre Fleury has already waived his no-move clause. This will make MAF available for the Golden Knights in the expansion draft. The Pittsburgh Penguins are ready to move forward with goaltender Matt Murray, which is not a surprise. Now all signs point toward the Las Vegas team selecting MAF to be the first face of the franchise. Does picking the veteran Fleury make sense for both parties?
Fleury in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Marc-Andre Fleury was in net for the defending champion Penguins to begin their playoff run this year. Pittsburgh’s regular netminder Matt Murray suffered an injury in warmups prior to Game 1 of their playoff series versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pittsburgh was very fortunate to have a future Hall of Famer waiting in the wings. MAF would play extremely well, with a memorable Game 7 shutout performance versus the Washington Capitals in the second round.
After allowing four quick goals in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Ottawa Senators, MAF was benched in favor of Matt Murray. Murray would go on to finish the playoffs in net for the Penguins. Many believe Pittsburgh would not repeat as Stanley Cup champions without the stellar play of Marc-Andre Fleury.
Pros/Cons of Marc-Andre Fleury in Vegas
Vegas needs to sell tickets. They also need to find players that fans will appreciate and root for. MAF will do both. If Fleury ends up in Vegas, his jersey will be a top seller. Also, MAF is known as one of the greatest “team” players in NHL history. By waiving his no-move clause, he helped Pittsburgh a ton! He would be a great addition to any locker room, especially one that is just starting out.
The case against MAF joining the Golden Knights is just as compelling. Why would MAF want to join an expansion team? He just won another Stanley Cup and would be going to a team with 200-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2018. Realistically, the Golden Knights will not be in a position to compete for a playoff berth in the near future.
Best Case Scenario
The Golden Knights have some big decisions to make. With the expansion draft inching closer, the team will be looking at all possible avenues regarding the roster. Pertaining to MAF, if the Golden Knights select him they will have options to consider.
The Golden Knights could be surprisingly competitive early, and having Fleury in net would make a lot of sense. He is a veteran presence, with a history of success. Even if Vegas will use a different netminder as their starter, having insurance like MAF is ideal (think of Pittsburgh’s recent run).
Another possibility is Vegas selecting MAF purely for trade bait. Contending teams will show interest in a goaltender with Fleury’s pedigree, and this seems like a “win-win” for both parties. Vegas could end up with young prospects and/or picks while MAF gets to compete for another title in the twilight of his career.