Less than 24 hours after becoming a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, it was been reported that Marc-Andre Fleury has agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft. As reported by Renaud Lavoie but originally mentioned by Jimmy Murphy, the Penguins’ netminder agreed to the Penguins’ request in February to waive his no-movement clause, effectively allowing the team to protect rookie and two-time Stanley Cup Champion goaltender Matt Murray from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Marc-André Fleury accepted the Penguins request in February to waive his no move clause for the expansion draft. Only for Las Vegas.
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) June 12, 2017
For the Penguins, this answers one of the most glaring questions that surrounded their team throughout the entire 2016 offseason and 2016-17 season. Knowing that teams could only protect one goaltender in the Expansion Draft, the Penguins goaltending situation was one to watch. After all, Fleury is a multi-time Stanley Cup Champion and has been with the team since he was drafted first-overall back in 2003. After losing his job to Murray last season en-route to the Penguins second Stanley Cup victory since 2009, however, it looked like the Penguins were set to go in a different direction.
The Penguins didn’t trade Fleury in the offseason though. They didn’t even trade him in the regular season ahead of the trade deadline. In a move that was surprising to the hockey world, the Penguins were going to keep their goaltending tandem for a playoff push and seemingly deal with the consequences afterward. With Fleury having a no-movement clause, the situation was potentially going to be a sticky one ahead of Expansion. Losing a 23-year-old standout like Murray to the Vegas Golden Knights for nothing seemed like it simply couldn’t be an option – with this news now coming to light, it’ clear that the Penguins never intended on letting that happen.
Only Waived for Expansion
This is where the situation gets really interesting. While Fleury agreed to waive the no-movement clause, it wasn’t necessarily to facilitate an offseason trade of Fleury to a team looking for goaltending help. Instead, the clause was waived only for the Golden Knights. As Pierre LeBrun mentioned, this doesn’t mean that things can’t change, but as it stands, the waive only applies to the Golden Knights. By doing this, Fleury is allowing the Penguins to protect Murray and keep an eye towards the future while also potentially sealing his fate and allowing Vegas to select him in Expansion. If the Golden Knights do select Fleury, they will be getting a very solid goaltender who has proven throughout his career that he can backstop a team to success.
In his career, Fleury has played in 707 games, compiling a record of 384-220-70 with a 2.58 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Though he wasn’t able to play in the final game in either of the Penguins last two Stanley Cup victories, he is still a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and has a proven winning-pedigree. The Golden Knights could do significantly worse in the Expansion Draft than selecting Fleury, but there are no guarantees that the Penguins won’t make a trade with the team to ensure that they take somebody else, rather than the 32-year-old netminder who could still help the Penguins look for the rare “three-peat” next season alongside Murray.