Despite the solid play of Marc-Andre Fleury since early November, the Chicago Blackhawks remain near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. That’s sparked conjecture suggesting they could shop the 37-year-old goaltender if they haven’t climbed into the playoff picture by the March 21 trade deadline
Fleury struggled during his first eight games with the Blackhawks, winning just one contest with a .881 save percentage. Since Nov. 9, however, the 2021 Vezina Trophy winner regained his form with a 12-4-3 record and a sparkling .930 save percentage.
That improvement along with his reputation as a winner could make Fleury the Blackhawks’ best trade chip. He’s an unrestricted free agent in July with a $7-million cap hit for this season and a 10-team no-trade clause. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Fleury has an agreement with the club that he won’t be dealt unless he asks for it.
The Athletic’s Scott Powers cited two league sources speculating Fleury could fetch a first-round pick. He also reported a Blackhawks source indicating there haven’t been any contract extension discussions yet between the netminder and management.
Powers speculated playoff hopefuls in need of better goaltending like the Washington Capitals and Edmonton Oilers could come calling. He also raised the possibility of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season.
A first-rounder seems a steep potential asking price for a rental goalie but Fleury could be worth it to a desperate contender. The Blackhawks could need that pick if they end up losing their first-rounder as part of the conditions of last summer’s Seth Jones deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They could be willing to retain part of Fleury’s cap hit to make it happen.