Not too often do you hear that a team would do itself a favor by letting go of a quality player for absolutely nothing. The Penguins case is actually a little different heading into the Vegas expansion draft next week.
By now, its widely known that Marc-Andre Fleury waived his no-movement clause that is in his contract for the purpose of the draft. Vegas is very likely to take Fleury and his wife has reportedly been looking at some homes in Vegas as well as school districts for their kids.
A few weeks ago, it seemed as Fleury had boosted his trade value by his carrying of the team through the playoffs’ first two rounds. Calgary and Buffalo had been reported suitors but those rumors have since died down and it seems Vegas will not flip Fleury after taking him in the draft.Fleury has been an integral part of this team’s success since he was drafted in 2003. It’s never an ideal situation when an expansion draft like this arises. While it looks as though the Penguins will lose Fleury for nothing, not all is bad.
Had the Penguins agreed on a trade partner for The Flower, even though it could still happen, they would have likely lost a key top four defenseman from the previous season.
Due to expansion draft rules, you can only protect seven forwards, three defenseman, and a goalie. Fleury’s no-movement clause had to be waived or the Penguins would’ve taken the chance of losing Matt Murray, something they don’t want to happen.
With Kris Letang also having a no-movement clause in his contract, the Penguins would be forced to protect two of Justin Schultz, Olli Maatta, Brian Dumoulin and Ian Cole. The four of those players are a bit more valuable than losing Fleury for some draft pick off of another squad.
The rules of the expansion draft state that if there is a trade by Vegas with another team, that player the Golden Knights acquired would be the “draft” choice for Vegas. Thus, that team wouldn’t lose anyone else.
It looks like Flower will just be drafted by Vegas so it won’t matter. But if the Golden Knights do send a draft pick to Pittsburgh, that would be considered Vegas’ draft choice.
Fleury heading to Vegas would also take $5.75 million off the books, something the Penguins will need greatly if they want to have a shot at a championship again next year. They can use that money towards the resigning of key players
So while the emotional connection to Marc-Andre Fleury will likely be moved to a new team, the Penguins will be better off assuming Fleury is traded for or selected for nothing by Vegas.