With now t-minus 48 hours to the NHL Trade Deadline, we're finally in the home stretch for the season-long saga about Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Will the team keep him as insurance for one more playoff run or will they trade him now? Does the best goalie in franchise history even want to stay in a small role for a few more months of memories? Or is he ready for a new opportunity away from the only NHL team he's ever known?
Many questions cloud the situation complicated by so many factors but the only thing we know is that by Wednesday afternoon we'll know if Fleury will be around for one more stretch run.
Sean Leahy from Puck Daddy had a good writeup over the weekend about the process of communication between Fleury and general manager Jim Rutherford.
Rutherford could move him by Wednesday or hang on to Fleury for the rest of this season, which is what he prefers. But there are teams who have goaltending needs and one phone call could change everything. Fleury does own a limited no-move and no-trade clause in his contract, which he can list 18 teams he’s fine with being traded to if he decides to waive it.
"I’m looking forward to see what [Rutherford] has to say and what he thinks," said Fleury. "See what way the team wants to go and we’ll go from there."
Rutherford was on NHL Network Friday and said that at that time no offers had come his way for Fleury. He has received calls this season just inquiring about the 32-year-old goaltender, but no team has put a package together. That could change over the next four days as clubs make final decisions on the direction they want to go in heading into the playoffs and off-season.
Stanley Cup this spring." type="text" class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)--sm Mt(0.8em)--sm">In the end, as much as Rutherford would like to do right by the team’s longest-tenured player and a goaltender who led them to a title in 2009, he has to do what’s best for his team as they find themselves agains chasing a Stanley Cup this spring.
"I think the biggest thing that I have to look at now, aside from the fact that I would prefer to keep both goalies right through the end of the regular season and sort it out in the off-season, is what Marc-Andre Fleury’s thinking," Rutherford said. "He was really good last year with accepting his role in a tough situation for a guy that was a No. 1 goalie for a long time, and then he’s back to that same role this year. He’s handled it real well, but based no my conversation with him here in the last day or so it’s very clear to me he would like to get playing.
"We’re gonna communicate right up to the deadline and that decision will be made probably within the 48 hours leading up to the deadline, what’s best for him and what’s best for the Penguins."
Well today it seems they had that talk, and how did it go?
Fleury declined to say whether he's asked to be traded. Said he wants to keep his talks with Rutherford between them.— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) February 27, 2017
For what it's worth, Canadian journalist Darren Dreger doesn't think Fleury's asked to be moved.
Tough spot for Marc Andre Fleury and I'm certain he welcomes change/opportunity, but I don't believe he's asked for a trade.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 27, 2017
That wouldn't be too surprising, Fleury's recent comments stated he would defer to what GMJR and the team wanted. Rutherford has openly stated so many times in the last six months, he doesn't want to trade Fleury this season if he can help it. Should that hold, you would think MAF finishes another season in Pittsburgh.
Only time will tell, and luckily there's only two more days until the questions are put to rest for this season, one way or the other.