It is fair to say that when it comes to the league’s elite goaltenders, Marc-Andre Fleury is one name that definitely comes to mind. The Sorel, Quebec native was selected first overall by the Penguins in 2003, and since then, has gone on to win 3 Stanley Cups in the steel city.
With the upcoming Vegas expansion, Fleury’s future in Pittsburgh remained unclear, with the emergence of young gun goaltender Matt Murray. Fleury held a no-movement clause with the Penguins, which meant that Pittsburgh would have been forced to protect the 33-year-old netminder while exposing Matt Murray to Vegas. We have recently found out that Fleury has elected to waive his no-movement clause, which leaves the Penguins in an interesting situation heading into the expansion draft next week.
As you may know, my job is to write about the Flames, so it is safe to assume that I believe he will end up in Calgary. With a very thin goalie market, Calgary has very limited options to replace Elliott in the starter role for this upcoming season, which makes me fairly certain that the Flames will land him, or at least attempt to land him, but how they plan on doing so is another story. Here are the options that I have considered:
The Flames acquire Fleury from the Penguins for early-mid round picks or a prospect
Okay, so hear me out with this one. I like to base this idea off of the trade involving Bishop to the Stars. So Dallas ships off a 4th round pick to the Kings and acquire the rights to sign Ben Bishop. Though Fleury is not a pending free agent, I think the Flames need to take a similar approach when it comes to making a deal with Pittsburgh for the veteran goaltender. There is no doubt in my mind that the Penguins would rather make something off of Fleury, rather than just lose him to Vegas in the expansion. But at the same time, I could foresee the Penguins not asking for picks, but instead a mid level prospect that can grow and develop with the club. Jankowski? Shinkaruk? Kyllington? who knows – however all are possible assets that could be included in a deal that would land Marc-Andre Fleury.
Vegas claims Fleury and then flips him to Calgary for picks
This idea is one that I could definitely see coming to fruition. If Calgary can’t come to terms with Pittsburgh for a deal, they may speak to Vegas about a deal after the expansion draft where we see Fleury end up in Calgary after all. I would like to think that Vegas needs draft picks more than the Penguins do, so potentially swinging Fleury to Calgary for picks seems more promising in a deal with Vegas rather than Pittsburgh. I don’t doubt that Vegas GM George McPhee will get what he wants for Fleury, so maybe we will just have to wait for his asking price, assuming the Knights claim Fleury on June 21st, but I would expect this one to be a quick swap, as I believe that the Knights and Flames may already be discussing this move.
The future looks promising in net for the Flames – having Tyler Parsons and Jon Gillies currently developing in their system. Adding Fleury would make this tandem scary. I could see it turning into another Fleury-Murray situation, where Marc-Andre takes on a mentoring role over the two young goaltenders, and then when the time is right, the Parsons-Gillies era would begin for the Calgary Flames.
So, what would be a solid plan B for the Flames? Jimmy Howard? Steve Mason? James Reimer? Bring back, Elliot and Johnson? The goalie market is tough, so who really knows – but for the first time in a while, I am looking forward to possible Fleur-ries in Calgary.