Another team is reportedly expressing major interest in Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. According to Elliotte Friedman, the team has been engaging in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild over the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. This isn’t too surprising to hear, however, as they have had a bit of an issue with their goaltending this season. When seeing how they are looking to go on a deep playoff run, it makes sense that they are looking to improve upon this area.
Not sure where this will go, but hearing CHI & MIN have had conversations about Marc-Andre Fleury. Something to keep an eye on.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 19, 2022
The Wild are also in a good position financially that could allow a Fleury trade to come to fruition. According to CapFriendly, they have just over $10 million of deadline cap space, so they would be able to fit the veteran goaltender’s $7 million cap hit with ease. Furthermore, if the Blackhawks retained some of his salary, it could open the door for them to make one more big move before the deadline, too. Alas, let’s look at some of Chicago’s trade targets in this potential blockbuster.
If the Blackhawks wanted a goaltender back in a Fleury blockbuster, Kaapo Kahkonen could certainly grab their attention. Although Jesper Wallstedt would be their biggest target, the Wild view him as their future in net, so it’s extremely unlikely that they would trade him for a rental. Yet, the former could still be a very good option, too, as he has shown promise during his first two full seasons with the Wild.
In 25 appearances this season, Kahkonen has a 12-8-3 record, 2.87 goals-against average (GAA), and a .910 save percentage (SV%). He has shown some improvement from just last season, but with the Wild looking to win now, they could view him as expendable if it helps land them Fleury. Keep in mind, the latter is a proven, three-time Stanley Cup winner.
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It is unlikely that the Blackhawks would want Cam Talbot as the goaltender heading the other way. The 34-year-old veteran just does not fit in well with the rebuild the team is embarking on. Furthermore, it would make sense for the Wild to keep him, as he has been their primary starter this campaign. He has had a bit of a down year, though, as he sports a 24-12-1 record, 2.92 GAA, and .907 SV%. This is also a major reason why they are pushing hard for Fleury, of course.
Jack McBain seems like a perfect candidate to be moved in a Fleury blockbuster. The Wild have been actively shopping his rights, as the 22-year-old collegiate forward could become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) this summer. The team’s asking price for him is a second-round pick, but they certainly could be open to changing it if it results in them adding a future Hall of Famer to their crease.
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McBain just put together a great senior season with Boston College, as he had impressive 19 goals in 33 points in just 24 games. This was a significant increase in production, as he scored six goals in each of his previous three campaigns. Naturally, this has caused a plethora of teams to express interest in the youngster, and it’s been reported that the Blackhawks are among them. Thus, there certainly could be a match here worth exploring.
With the Blackhawks rebuilding, McBain is exactly the kind of prospect who they should be trying to acquire. This is the case whether it’s in a Fleury trade or even a separate one. Furthermore, the same can be said if he ends up hitting the open market this summer, too. Nevertheless, this is something to keep an eye on from here.
Pierre LeBrun previously reported that the Blackhawks are seeking either a first-round pick or top prospect and a mid-round pick in any Fleury blockbuster. Yet, it does not seem likely that they would trade players like Marco Rossi and Matthew Boldy in a potential swap. However, another pretty prominent prospect in their system who they could be more open to moving is defenseman Calen Addison.
What I think an asking price would look like from Chicago in a Fleury trade: 1st RD pick (or 1st RD level prospect) and maybe a mid-round pick. The second pick likely depends on whether the Hawks need to take back a contract and how bad that contract is.— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 14, 2022
But key is: 1st RD pick.
Addison was originally acquired by the Wild when they sent Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since then, he has been a solid point-producer with their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Iowa Wild. His statistics this season are proving that perfectly, as he has four goals and 16 assists in 26 games thus far. He also has been rather physical in the process, as he has a whopping 58 penalty minutes, too. Thus, he has a nice mix of skill and grit.
Although Addison has found success in the AHL, the Wild’s defensive depth has made it hard for him to cement himself a spot on their NHL roster. However, he has seen his most action in the NHL this season, as he has two goals and two assists in 15 contests with the team. Yet, with the team already having Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon on the right side, they could be willing to move him if it lands them a star goalie like Fleury.
With Friedman reporting that the Blackhawks and Wild are talking about a potential Fleury blockbuster, it’s possible that he could end up there before the deadline passes. However, he will be one the who greenlights the move, so we will have to wait and see what comes to fruition on that front. If he is open to it, these targets would all be good options for the team to choose from.