One of the hottest topics heading into the National Hockey League's offseason is the future of veteran goaltender Marc Andre Fleury. Fleury is currently playing out the final year of a 3 year deal he signed with the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the summer of 2018, one that carries an average annual value and salary cap hit of $7 million per season, and will become an unrestricted free agent when that contract will have run its course in just a few short weeks.
That means that, in theory, Fleury will be free to sign with any team in the NHL and given that there are a number of teams in the league that could use an upgrade in goal it seems likely that he will be among the most coveted free agents of the summer, that is if he gets to free agency. There has also been talk of a potential retirement for Fleury at the end of this current season, although it would now seem that those rumblings were quite premature.
On Monday, Fleury was asked about his future and he made it clear that he does intend to play next season which means that we can put the talk of a Fleury retirement on hold until at least next season. Even more interesting than that though, Fleury expressed that he would "definitely" be open to re-signing with the Minnesota Wild after his brief stint with the team.
There are some reasons to believe that this could work out, most notable of which is Fleury's relationship with current Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin, Fleury's former teammate. That being said it will prove to be an enormous challenge for the Wild, especially if Fleury wants to earn anything close to the cap hit of $7 million that he currently carries.
This season the Wild carried just over $4.7 million in dead cap space for the buyouts they used on former Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise and former Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, however that number will jump to just over $12.7 million in dead cap space next season. That won't leave the Wild much room, if any, to sign a big ticket free agent like Fleury, so the chances of Fleury remaining with the Wild may be slim or close to nonexistent.
Fleury would also add that he had no regrets about joining the Wild in spite of their early first round playoff exit, stating that he loved the atmosphere around the team.
"I’m glad I came," said Fleury on Monday. "I’m glad I got the opportunity to play with this team. It’s such a great locker room."