Will Fleury End His Season In Minnesota?

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild have had a tumultuous season. First, they started with a long losing streak. Then, they lost a well-liked coach. After that, they had to deal with a rash of injuries that hit some of their top players. At this point, the Wild are eight points out of a playoff spot. Can they depend on an easier schedule to boost them into a wild card spot? The Wild just helped Marc-Andre Fleury cross over Patrick Roy to be the goaltender with the second-most wins (552) in NHL history. And when John Hynes took over as Head Coach, the Wild flipped a switch and went 7-3 in their first ten games with Hynes. If they can play like that from here on out, a playoff spot could materialize in their future.

But what if it doesn’t? GM Bill Guerin is known to be aggressive at the trade deadline, but normally he’s bringing in assets for a playoff run. Will he try to be just as aggressive in trying to trade out valuable players to build up his roster in the future? 

Related Article: BREAKING: Jared Spurgeon Out for the Season

One interesting name that has started to come up in trade rumors is three-time Stanley Cup winner Fleury. The 39-year-old goalie has a full no-move clause on his contract, which is expiring at the end of this season. The big question is whether he’d be willing to waive that clause if the right team comes calling. 

Fleury has already won the Cup multiple times, so he isn’t aggressively chasing another. And he isn’t going to agree to be traded to another team so that he can be the backup. It would take the right team and situation to entice him to leave. So, what teams could be interested in the pedigreed goalie?

Guerin probably can’t expect to get much in return for an aging goalie, even if he is a future Hall-of-Famer. But if Fleury requested to move, could Guerin get a nice draft pick in return? Who knows. With Fleury already on an expiring contract and with Jesper Wallstedt spending his second year in the AHL, most likely moving up to the NHL next season, getting a draft pick in one of the first rounds is lucrative.

There are quite a few playoff contenders who have had trouble with their goaltending this season. Here are a few that might be interested in trading for Fleury.

Edmonton Oilers

Jack Campbell, on a five-year contract with the Oilers, is currently playing in the AHL after a bad first year bled over into the start of this season. What was supposed to be a plan to give him confidence before recalling Campbell back to the NHL has turned into the same sort of bad goaltending he was showing in the NHL. Stuart Skinner also had trouble when the season started but has rebounded in the past month. Bringing in a veteran like Fleury would add some insurance in the net. But would Fleury waive his no-move clause to potentially play as Skinner’s backup? Most likely not.

Colorado Avalanche

Sure, goalie Alexander Georgiev is leading the NHL with 24 wins this season, but his .897 save percentage puts him outside of the top goalies in the league. The Avs are 24th in five-on-five save percentage, so it might make sense for them to take a peek at another goalie at the trade deadline. But if stats are what is important, Fleury has an identical save percentage at .897. And the Avalanche have more pressing priorities at the deadline, namely adding a top-six forward.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have struggled with finding a goalie this season. They’ve brought in two goalies on tryouts but didn’t sign either one to a contract. They’ve also had to deal with injuries and illness. Frederik Andersen has been out of the lineup since November, when it was discovered that he had a blood clotting issue. Their main goalie, Pyotr Kochetkov, has been playing well but might need a veteran presence to help in a deep playoff run. Currently, Kochetkov is out with a concussion.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Goaltenders for the Leafs have been in and out of the lineup with injuries and AHL stints. Joseph Woll was injured on December 7 and is still out of the lineup, although he is now traveling with the team and getting closer to being on the ice. Ilya Samsonov has been inconsistent, with a 3.88 goals-against average and a .863 save percentage. He earned himself a stint in the AHL. Martin Jones has also been in the net for the Leafs, called up from the Toronto Marlies. When a team has three inconsistent goalies, do they even have one? Fleury would be an obvious choice to target at the trade deadline. 

New Jersey Devils

The Devils are at the bottom of the league in five-on-five save percentage. Vitek Vanecek has a .882 overall save percentage along with a 3.31 goals-against average. Niko Daws was out for two months with a hip injury and has been playing well, but he doesn’t have a long enough career to judge whether he could do well on a deep playoff run. Akira Schmid had a good run during the playoffs last year, but he’s currently in the AHL. Could Fleury end up on the East Coast again? One added advantage that the Devils have is their GM, Tom Fitzgerald, who Fleury knows from his days in Pittsburgh, where Fitzgerald worked in the front office. Could a familiar face help convince Fleury to waive his no-move clause?

For more on Fleury’s record-breaking night and the Minnesota Wild in general, listen to Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy! Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki talks about the abundance of amazing hockey between the NHL Playoffs and the IIHF Men's World Championships. She also touches on a few fun facts and rambles a bit too much after too many days between podcast episodes. Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR   
  1. Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy!
  2. It's The Playoffs, Baby!
  3. Hockey Culture is Disgusting and Needs to Change
  4. A Post-Mortem for the MN Wild Season
  5. Trading Gustavsson Would Be the Dumbest Idea Ever

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