The Las Vegas Golden Knights have a big problem on their hands and it sounds like their attempts at fixing that problem has thus far fallen completely flat.
As most of you will know it was announced last week that veteran goaltender Robin Lehner had signed a 5 year contract worth $25 million with the Golden Knights organization, a contract that many had reported was agreed upon prior to the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That brought the Golden Knights cap hit in goal to a total of $12 million per season when you add in the $7 million cap hit of Marc Andre Fleury, a cap hit that everyone knew was untenable for the organization moving forward. Before the ink had even dried on Lehner's contract the writing was on the wall for Marc Andre Fleury, everyone knew that he would be the odd man out.
The question now is what to do with Fleury? A buyout is the most obvious option but rumors suggest the Golden Knights are unwilling to make that move, which leaves only the possibility of trading him. I don't see any team outside of maybe the Detroit Red Wings or Ottawa Senators trading for Fleury at his current cap hit, and in the case of both those teams they would only do so to collect additional assets, but reports suggest that the Golden Knights are also unwilling to retain any salary on the deal. That may sound crazy, but the latest on Fleury appears to indicate that this is indeed the case.
This morning during a segment on TSN 1260 radio, National Hockey League insider Frank Seravalli revealed that the Golden Knights had offered both Marc Andre Fleury and a second round draft pick, presumably one at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, in exchange for nothing, only to have every team turn down that offer. This now means that the Golden Knights will either have to increase that offer to get someone to bite, or will have to consider either a buyout or salary retention to get this one done.
The initial offer from the Golden Knights would closely resemble the trade the Red Wings made for veteran defenseman Marc Staal, a deal in which the Red Wings got both Staal and a second round pick from the Rangers in exchange for quite literally nothing. Staal carried a cap hit of $5.7 million, a full $1.3 million less than Fleury, but the big difference between these two scenarios is the term remaining on each players respective contract. Staal only had 1 year remaining, Fleury is a cap hit of $7 million for the next 2 seasons, and no doubt that has proven to be a sticking point for most teams.