The Chicago Blackhawks made another splashy trade Tuesday, acquiring goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Mikael Hakkarainen. Fleury joins defenseman Seth Jones as the second high-profile acquisition for General Manager Stan Bowman this off-season.
Fleury, who has one year left on his contract, is slated to make $7 million next season — but according to his agent Allan Walsh, Fleury may elect to retire before then.
While Marc-Andre Fleury still hasn’t heard from anybody with the Vegas Golden Knights, he has apparently been traded to Chicago. Marc-Andre will be taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time.
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) July 27, 2021
Although Bowman has stated he is committed to a rebuild, his moves for Fleury and Jones this off-season seem antithetical to that goal. If the team was truly rebuilding, why acquire two superstar veterans — one of which (Jones) was signed for 8 years at $9.5 million after next season? It’s a fair question, but if these are the only big moves Bowman makes this offseason, he may still be able to rebuild. He just needs to stop adding veterans and shedding picks.
Fleury makes sense for the short-term. He’d be a fantastic mentor for Kevin Lankinen, who played well for stretches but petered out toward the end of last season. He’s also a player that gives Bowman what he’s always loved, which is term flexibility and a potential trade chip — much like Robin Lehner, who was signed for one-year at $5 million, only to be traded at the deadline that same season. If the Hawks do stumble next year, Bowman can simply flip Fleury at the deadline, just as he did with Lehner.
Fleury will turn 37 next November, but he has shown zero signs of slowing down. Last year, he recorded a .928 and a .918 save percentage in the regular season and playoffs, respectively — earning him the Vezina Trophy for the NHL’s top goalie. He also won the starting role from Robin Lehner in both the regular season and playoffs, starting in 16 of Vegas’ 19 playoff games. Fleury has won the Stanley Cup three times with the Pittsburgh Penguins and ranks 3rd in the NHL in wins with 492.