With the Stanley Cup about to begin on Monday, it was backup Marc-Andre Fleury who got quite a bit of attention at media day today. The backup goalie, who stepped up in the first two rounds of the playoffs and led the team to victories over the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Washington Capitals before giving way to starter Matt Murray, will almost guaranteed be in a Pittsburgh Penguins’ uniform for the last time after spending the last 13 years with the franchise.
“I try not to,” said Fleury, when asked whether he thinks about the upcoming offseason. “I try to live, day-by-day, go like that. We will see what happens at the end of the season.” The veteran goalie added, via NBCSports, that winning a Stanley Cup again would be one lasting memory he’d like to take away from this final season in Pittsburgh.
Because of the expansion draft, Fleury’s tenure in Pittsburgh is likely over. To begin with, the veteran has a No Movement Clause, which will ironically force the team to move him or buy him out rather than lose Murray, who is younger, cheaper and better. Fortunately for Fleury, his playoff success which included nine wins, a 2.56 GAA and a .924 save percentage in 15 playoff games, makes it easier to trade him as the 32-year-old will still be in high demand. Fleury does have a limited no-trade clause, which allows him to be traded to 18 teams of his choosing. While we have no idea who the 18 teams are, there is a good chance that he might agree to go to the Calgary Flames.
The Flames are coming off a strong season in which they reached the playoffs, but were swept out of the playoffs with much of the blame directed at their goaltending tandem of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson. Both are free agents on July 1 and the team will be desperate for a starter.
While the Flames would have several options to choose from including Fleury, a veteran might be exactly what Calgary needs as their top two prospects are goaltenders in Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons. Gillies, 23, just finished up his first full season for the AHL’s Stockton Heat. The former star goaltender from Providence College, finished the season with a 2.93 GAA, but the 2012 third-round pick did make his NHL debut this year. He might be a good backup for next year, but without a doubt isn’t ready for the starting job. Parsons, on the other hand, was a second-rounder in 2016 and isn’t ready for the NHL club yet. So, a veteran like Fleury would be a good fixture in net for the next two years as that’s what’s left of his contract.
Other teams like the Winnipeg Jets may be good fits as well, but there is no guarantee that the Jets are on Fleury’s 18-team list of teams. We’ll know soon enough.