Now that the drama surrounding Marc-André Fleury is over and he’s officially staying in Minnesota, it’s as good of a time as any to give out his report card. He came to the Minnesota Wild following a trade at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline back in March for a conditional first-round pick but since the Wild’s playoff results didn’t match the criteria for the draft pick, it became a second-round pick instead of a first.
It goes without saying that nearly everyone loves Fleury, or “Flower” as he’s also known, due to his great personality both on and off the ice. He always seems to have a smile on his face and that continued when he joined the Wild and now will continue for the next two seasons as well, as he secured his new deal.
Fleury’s Up & Down Season
As everyone knows, Fleury started the 2021-22 season with the Chicago Blackhawks. His first 45 games were not what he was hoping for, as he had a record of 19-21-5, the first time he’d had a losing record since 2005-06, which was his second season in the NHL, and the first time he played more than a quarter of the season. His save percentage (SV%) with the Blackhawks was .908 and his goals-against average (GAA) was 2.95.
Once Fleury was traded to the Wild, his stats improved – not a lot – but they got better. He bumped up to a .910 SV% but dropped to a 2.74 GAA in 11 games played. His record over those games was 9-2-0. When he joined the Wild, he had a more complete team in front of him and he didn’t have as much pressure on his shoulders until they reached the postseason.
Fleury did well with the initial rotation he was in with Wild starter Cam Talbot, as they complemented each other well. Despite it being short, he had a great regular season with the Wild and seemed to fit right in. He also tallied a single assist during those 11 games played for his 20th point over his 17-year career.
Fleury’s Disappointing Playoffs
This section will be rather short just like the Wild’s playoff stint. It’s really hard to blame a goaltender for their team’s postseason performance, but Fleury did take a lot of the heat. He played in five out of the Wild’s six playoffs games and had a record of 2-3 with a decent .906 SV%, but a rough 3.04 GAA. He let in a lot of goals and the games were rather high scoring, as in three out of the five games he allowed four goals.
It wasn’t all Fleury’s fault, his defense struggled in front of him plus his offense hit a brick wall, and scored a limited amount of goals. However, he does deserve some of the blame, as he was expected to elevate his game in the postseason and while he did somewhat, he didn’t do enough. Now that he’s remaining with the Wild, they’ll be expecting a lot more from him in the future.
Fleury’s Final Grade
Some of the other player’s grades have been quite difficult because they had a great regular season but ultimately fell short of their goal in the playoffs. Goaltenders are one of the hardest positions to grade because they are the last line of defense and often have to save their team. Fleury did that a few times before the regular season ended and he tried to during the playoffs as well. However, his is a difficult grade to hand out because he’s so well-liked and is a great goaltender but really struggled in the postseason.
Overall, Fleury had a great showing for the Wild in his first 11 games and then hit a roadblock when it came to the playoffs. His grade may seem a little harsh but it has to be a C-. He didn’t completely fail like many believe he did and it’s not fair to blame just him for their postseason failure, but some of it does rest on his shoulders. He did so well when he first arrived, it was really disappointing to see it all disappear. He did stand on his head at certain times throughout Round 1 but it wasn’t enough in the end.
As it’s been stated several times, the big news surrounding Fleury is that he agreed to a two-year deal with the Wild at around $3.5 million per season. So, the Wild don’t have to stress out during the offseason trying to figure out their goaltending situation. It’ll be really interesting to see how well he fits in during a full season, as he’ll have more time to adjust prior to another postseason run. This time, hopefully, he can carry them all the way through to a Stanley Cup.
Mariah Holland is a contributing Minnesota Wild writer for THW. She’s been covering the Wild at THW since October of 2020 and specializes in game takeaways and weekly check-ins. She is always looking for different angles to cover the Wild and dig deeper into the stories surrounding the team to help fans connect on a more personal level and to keep an eye on the latest follow her on Twitter @MariahEStark.