If he had it his way, Marc-Andre Fleury would spend the rest of his career in Pittsburgh.
The first overall pick in 2003 has been with the Penguins his whole career, winning two Stanley Cups. However, there are two major roadblocks to Fleury’s wish: next summer’s expansion draft and teammate/ heir apparent Matt Murray.
The 31-year-old Fleury had an unbelievable season in 2015-16, winning 35 games and posting a 0.921 SV%. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion towards the end of the season, which allowed Murray to take over the starters role on his way to the Penguins’ Stanley Cup victory.
In an interview with Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Fleury said both he and Murray give the Penguins a chance to win games, and “bottom line, that’s what matters. It doesn’t matter who’s in the net.”
Fleury said he met with management after last season and knows where he stands.
When asked if he would request a trade to get more starts, Fleury was emphatic, “No. No. No. I’ve always said this is like my home. I wish I could play here my whole career.”
With next summer’s expansion draft looming, the Penguins will only be able to protect one goaltender. It seems unlikely they would chose Fleury at the expense of the 22-year-old Murray. Fleury has a no-move clause and will need to be protected by his team, unless he chooses to waive it. The Penguins may ask him to move before then, to avoid losing him for nothing, but Fleury isn’t thinking about that, telling Bombulie he plans on going with the flow, and that he’ll “see what happens”
In other news from around the hockey world:
- Team North America coach Todd McLellan isn’t worried about Connor McDavid going pointless in the World Cup preliminaries. According to TSN’s Frank Seravelli, McLellan thinks McDavid needs to be more selfish, comparing it to McDavid’s first three games in the NHL, where he was “asking for permission” while he was feeling out the style of play.
- Back in Edmonton, the Oilers expect college free agent Drake Caggiula to contend for a forward position to start the season, according to Bob McKenzie (via Chris Nichols). The smaller Caggiula models his game after Bruins star Brad Marchand: pesky, fast, and skilled.
- The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples has a new article on Oilers camp invite Kris Versteeg. Staples praised Versteeg as “the kind [of player] the team needs and has sorely lacked”, calling him an “excellent bet”. Versteeg has played with Milan Lucic, trained with Brandon Davidson, and played for GM Peter Chiarelli. He cited McDavid, Rogers Place, and playing close to home as reasons for picking the Oilers over other teams who offered PTOs.