Reunions like the one we're about to discuss don't happen all that often in the cutthroat world of professional sports, and perhaps it is for that reason that when even the mere possibility of one comes up it feels special.
I am of course talking about the rumors that have been floating around regarding the potential of a reunion between veteran National Hockey League goaltender Marc Andre Fleury and his former team the Pittsburgh Penguins. The conversation around the possibility of it happening kicked off last week thanks in large part to comments made by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman in his 31 Thoughts.
It would take a buyout, which I’m not sure Vegas wants to do in this economy, but would anyone really be surprised to see a Marc-Andre Fleury/Tristan Jarry tandem in Pittsburgh?
Now admittedly the buyout of Fleury does seem like a long shot given that the Golden Knights could in theory trade him, but with so many goaltenders set to become available in the offseason that may be easier said than done. Fleury has two more years left on his current deal with an average annual value of $7 million per season and the same economy that would give the Golden Knights pause when it comes to a buyout of Fleury will give other teams pause when it comes to trading for him.
Following the comments made in his article Friedman would go on to appear on Oilers Now late last week and it was there that he revealed the buyout option may actually be on the table here for the Golden Knights.
"Vegas has got to figure out it's situation," said NHL insider Elliotte Friedman last week. "Someone told me they are not convinced that Vegas wants to buyout Fleury. Now they may have no choice because if they sign Lehner, you don't wanna have $12 million in goalies."
Again it sounds like the Golden Knights would prefer not to go that route, but the option does appear to be on the table.
"I don't think they want to buy him out, but it's possible," added Friedman.
Even if all these dominos do fall into place there's still one more hurdle that Fleury and the Penguins will have to overcome if they are to be reunited and that hurdle will come in the form of dollar signs. As stated it will be a tough market for goalies in the offseason given how many of them will become available and if Fleury joins that list things will be no different for him, but even under those circumstances I feel he would have to take a very team-friendly type of deal to become a Penguin again.
I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility but there are a lot of conditions that will need to be met if this is indeed to happen. It would make for an amazing story and I know how much fans in Pittsburgh love Marc Andre Fleury to this day, and for Fleury it would give him a chance to retire with the team that drafted him and with the team that made him a household name in the National Hockey League.