It was a hard rumour to swallow last week when ESPN’s Grew Wyshynski pointed out how a Marc-Andre Fleury trade in Vegas would enable the Golden Knights to gain some salary-cap flexibility. Per Cap Friendly, Vegas has $75.4 million invested in 18 players, with $12 million tied up in their goaltending. Fleury carries an annual average value of $7 million, but Wyshynski suggested that he might be easier to move with a year left on his deal and coming off a Vezina Trophy win.
Right away, fans thought about the Pittsburgh Penguins, who earlier this season, had not only tried to re-acquire Fleury during the offseason, but also held more conversations at the start of the regular calendar to see if a move was possible. A trade was denied by Vegas.
We all know how team owner Bill Foley has publicly stated he didn’t want Fleury traded and how Flower, who carries a 10-team no-trade clause, expressed his wish to retire in Las Vegas. However, rumours have hinted at a potential move because too much money is invested in between the Knights’ pipes and it sounds like the Penguins are interested no matter which goalie gets moved.
According to insider Mark Madden in Pittsburgh, the Penguins should attempt to acquire Lehner if Fleury isn’t the one available on the market. The Pens better fix their goaltending issues this summer, but their limited cap space means shedding salary to make room for Flower or Lehner.
Fleury carries an annual average value of $7 million, but he might be easier to move with a year left on his deal and coming off a Vezina Trophy win. He and 29-year-old Lehner also won the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals-against. Lehner is under contract for four more years with an annual average value of $5 million.
If ever Fleury is available, Madden recently hinted at the fact that the Golden Knights could consider absorbing part of Flower’s salary and that it shouldn’t cost the Penguins more than a third-round pick. He does not mention if the same scenario would go for Lehner.
But imagine how upset fans in Pittsburgh would be to see a goalie coming from Vegas but not being their beloved Flower?