The Vegas Golden Knights will not be trading Marc-Andre Fleury this off-season, and instead intend to use a two-goalie tandem that features Robin Lehner as well, general manager Kelly McCrimmon told reporters Monday night.
“We see the goaltending position being incredibly important this year,” McCrimmon said. “Our goalies will be Robin and Marc-Andre. We all expect a schedule that’s going to be extremely compressed.”
“Did we look at any number of possibilities? Sure, we did. But this was, at end of the day, the decisions that we made to move forward.”
Rumours had swirled about Fleury’s long-term outlook in Vegas since 2020 trade deadline, when Vegas acquired Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks, and accelerated when Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, posted a controversial image to social media of the three-time Stanley Cup winner being stabbing the back by a sword with head coach Peter DeBoer’s name on it.
Compounding matters was the Golden Knights’ cap situation, which became strained following the re-signing of Lehner to a five-year, $25-million contract and the high-price acquisition of Alex Pietrangelo.
Fleury, who turns 36 in November and has two more years left on a contract that carries a $7-million cap hit, had previously stated he’d like to remain a Golden Knight. The plan, for now at least, appears to be making that desire a reality.
McCrimmon also announced that Lehner would be undergoing surgery to “clean up” his shoulder, but would be expected to return by the start of training camp.
In 49 games with the Golden Knights last season, Fleury posted a 27-16-5 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.
“When we talked to our pro staff, our pro staff really reiterated how important they felt having the two goalies that we have were going to be to our team and how important they will be this year,” McCrimmon said. “All of those inputs went into the discussion. Did we look at any number of possibilities? Sure we did. But this was, at end of the day, the decisions that we made to move forward.”