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Penguins Source ‘Wouldn’t Be Surprised’ by Fleury Return

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NHL trade, Pittsburgh Penguins trade Marc-Andre Fleury

You are not the only ones wondering what comes next. The increasingly loaded goaltending carousel, which includes the former Penguins tandem of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury, is spinning. Round and round she goes, but where she stops, nobody knows.

At least one member of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey ops “wouldn’t be surprised” if Fleury wound up back in Pittsburgh.

For those who jumped straight to the comments section without reading further, let me clarify and add context. “Wouldn’t be surprised” is NOT an NHL trade rumor. It’s not an indication of trade talks. In fact, PHN has been unable to connect Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon and Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford to any negotiations.

We’ve tried for a week to connect the dots since our first conversation.

Penguins Hall of Fame GM Craig Patrick waited out the competition at the 2003 NHL Draft and traded up two spots to select Fleury first overall. For an organization reeling from an arena fight that depleted competitive resources so deeply that the Penguins resembled an AHL team with an aging Mario Lemieux at center, Fleury was the first bright spot of the new generation.

When Fleury stood on his head and wowed a near sell-out crowd at the Civic Arena just days into his professional career, the Penguins arrow was finally pointing up. When Fleury robbed Detroit defenseman Niklas Lidstrom in the final seconds of Game 7 to preserve the 2009 Stanley Cup championship, everything came to fruition.

It wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns for Fleury and the Penguins. There was the 2013 playoff meltdown, but Fleury finished on a high note. He held the fractured 2015-16 team together long enough to for them to course-correct and win the 2016 Stanley Cup. Fleury stole the 2017 Round Two series against the Washington Capitals, which launched the Penguins to a second-consecutive Stanley Cup win.

Fleury will forever be a Penguins legend.

Is a Marc-Andre Fleury Return Feasible

If members of the Penguins organization are also openly wondering about a Fleury return, that is a testament to Fleury’s impact on the organization. Quite frankly, it’s also a testament to the personality the Penguins have missed since Fleury became the face of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Vegas Hockey Now looked at the top five Fleury landing spots, and we couldn’t find a way to insert the Penguins. We looked. We tried.

The Penguins have about $6 million in salary-cap space to sign Tristan Jarry, Sam Lafferty, and pay a third-pairing defenseman who carries a right-handed stick. That $6 million doesn’t include internal limits as multiple outlets, including PHN, reported the Penguins might not be a cap team next season.

But, we can assume Tristan Jarry gets a round figure of $3 million. He would probably like more. The Penguins would like less. For our math, $3 million is the sweet spot. If Rutherford signs Lafferty to an NHL deal or inserts 2019 first-round pick, Sam Poulin into the lineup, that’s about $900,000.

That combination leaves the Penguins about $1.4 million because they will also need a cushion for short-term injury callups. Next season is going to be a compressed, wild-ride. A week-long injury could mean a three-game absence, almost every week.

How can Rutherford fit the Marc-Andre Fleury and his $7 million paycheck into that mess?

For the Penguins to actually make the Fleury return a reality, a lot of money would have to go out. One of Patric Hornqvist and Jason Zucker would need to go, in addition to one of Jared McCann, Jack Johnson, or Bryan Rust. Would you trade two of those players for Fleury to be a 1A goalie with Jarry?

Would Fleury want to be a 1A goalie? Should the Penguins want a wildly popular figure like Fleury looking over Jarry’s shoulder? That seems like bad news for Jarry and something which would again divide the fanbase and cause the team grief.

Do we really want to live through this, AGAIN?

Perhaps Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman spoke with the same source, or the opinion is spreading. Friedman also reported he wouldn’t be shocked by a Jarry/Fleury tandem.

Quite frankly, given the year which 2020 has been, would anyone be surprised if the Penguins had space aliens in their lineup come December?

It sure would be nice to cover Marc-Andre Fleury again. I haven’t been chirped about a question, nor has a player bellowed to our Shelly Anderson through a sea of reporters in years.

Sentimentality. 100%. Reality? Thomas Wolfe was probably right. You can’t go home again.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Don
Don
11 months ago

You do realize there do not need to be negotiations between Vegas and the Penguins for this to happen, right? If Vegas agrees to buy MAF out at 2/3 of his contract, he’s free to negotiate without them, and the Penguins are NOT on the hook for 7 m per year.

Hentryk
Hentryk
11 months ago
Reply to  Dan Kingerski

Not sure why fans always want to recycle players, usually it’s been a bad result in recent years. Penguins need to sign Jarry and bring DeSmith back up.

Katz
Katz
11 months ago

Goaltending is not their problem. Adding Fleury may make matters worse, subtraction by addition so to speak. Would be nice if the real issues were dealt with, Defense, grit, speed and size, hungry youth . The smoke signals are disheartening. Is there really a market for Murray? A First seems overpriced. This is the point at which the Pittsburgh Penguins future is being determined. If they bring back Fleury , sign Conor Sheary, Dominick Simone, and add some UFA’s this will be the moment one can look back at and say it all went to you know where. And if… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Katz
Eric Bouchard
Eric Bouchard
11 months ago

the only way is a buy out by VGS. Per Cap friendly that would cost around 2 583 333 – 3 083 333 and 2 years at 2 083 333 to VGS That wont happen unless Flower makes a Kessel MOVE with is NTC and decides to put some impossible destinations for VGS tp trade him to. His NTC in fact he has to make a list of 10 teams he DOESNT want to go to. Would have been a great story for the Pens to see Flower back. ANd hockey wise It would have been nice too for Jarry to have… Read more »

Hentryk
Hentryk
11 months ago

It would be cap suicide to even consider Fleury since Vegas can’t really keep much if any of his cap hit. Trading Rust or Zucker needs to be a non starter. Horny would be missed and likely hard to trade with the length left on his deal.

Plus in recent years what players has come back to the Pens for a 2nd stint and not been terrible?

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[…] sign a contract with the Penguins. While a source indicates it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Fleury back in a Pens uniform, a buyout doesn’t seem likely because it in no way helps the Golden Knights unless the NHL […]

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[…] the team waits to make a decision on Lehner, it appears as though the Golden Knights are considering trading Fleury back to the Pittsburgh Penguins where […]

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