In an offseason filled with large moves, the Chicago Blackhawks just made another gigantic move. After shoring up their defense with the acquisition of Seth Jones, the team focused on goalie. The Blackhawks acquired 36-year-old goalie Marc-Andre Fleury via trade from the Vegas Golden Knights. In the trade, the Blackhawks picked up all of his $7 million cap hit and in exchange sent forward prospect Mikael Hakkarainen to Vegas.
Fleury has spent the last four seasons with Vegas after being selected in the 2017 expansion draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins. In his time with Vegas, he compiled a .917 save percentage and 2.41 goals against average. Ironically, the Blackhawks sent Fleury’s replacement to Vegas in 2019 when they traded Robin Lehner to the Golden Knights in a three-team deal. While playing in tandem with Lehner last season, Fleury produced his best statistical season in Vegas, putting up a .928 save percentage and 1.98 goals against average in 36 regular season games
In theory, the Blackhawks envision Fleury and Kevin Lankinen splitting time in the goal next season with newly acquired Seth Jones as their No. 1 defenseman, but there is a wrinkle to this trade: Fleury might retire instead of accepting the trade to Chicago.
Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, sent this tweet out upon hearing the news.
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
In conclusion, the Blackhawks have traded for Fleury, however, it does not mean they will be getting Fleury in net next season.
Should Fleury opt to retire, his full $7 million cap hit would come off Chicago’s books, rendering the trade a low-risk move.