The Chicago Blackhawks are sending veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury — one of the very best available at his position on the market — to the Minnesota Wild, according to multiple reports.
In return, Chicago will second-round draft pick that becomes a first-rounder if Minnesota makes the Western Conference final.
The three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins is hoping to join a Wild team that is looking to secure its place in the Western Conference playoffs. They currently hold the No. 3 seed in the division with 76 points, just one behind the second-place St. Louis Blues.
Goaltending suddenly became a dire need for a team that has won just seven of its last 17 games. During that very stretch, they’ve allowed four or more goals 11 times.
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It understandably sends a difficult message to original starting goaltender Cam Talbot — who was in Las Vegas just one month ago representing the Wild at the 2022 NHL All-Star Game — as he will likely serve as Fleury’s backup. Meanwhile, Kaapo Kahkonen is being traded to the San Jose Sharks, per Elliotte Friedman, in a separate deal to complete Minnesota’s new goaltending tandem.
The 37-year-old Fleury experienced a drop-off in production playing with a non-contending Blackhawks team this season. He’s 19-21-5 with a 2.95 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage — this just one year after winning his first-career Vezina Trophy with the Vegas Golden Knights by putting up a .928 SV% and 1.98 GAA.
He spent four seasons with the Knights where he finished in the top-three of the Vezina voting three times. As the franchise’s first-ever pick at the 2017 expansion draft after 13 seasons with the Penguins, he also backstopped Vegas to an unprecedented Western Conference title in its first year of existence.
Wild general manager Bill Guerin, who was teammates with Fleury while in Pittsburgh, will hope that the veteran netminder’s wealth of playoff experience will help make Minnesota a far more formidable playoff opponent in a Western Conference that seems destined for a clash between the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames.
Fleury has appeared in 115 playoff games (62-51-0) with a .908 SV% and 2.65 GAA.
Despite the big acquisition, though, the Wild’s Stanley Cup odds remain unchanged: