Marc-Andre Fleury was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks by the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
Vegas received forward prospect Mikael Hakkarainen.
Fleury was voted the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL this season after the 36-year-old went 26-10-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and six shutouts in 36 games. He went 9-7 with a 2.04 GAA and .918 save percentage in 16 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to help the Golden Knights reach the NHL Semifinals, where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in six games.
“The opportunity to acquire a Vezina-winning goaltender is rare and one you cannot pass up,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “Marc-Andre improves our goaltending, strengthens our team defense and will have a huge impact on the overall development of the Blackhawks. Having a goaltender like this on our team will put the talent we currently have on our roster in a better position to achieve sustained success. The entire organization is thrilled to have this future Hall of Famer on our team and his reputation of being an excellent teammate on and off the ice precedes him.”
Fleury has one season remaining on a three-year, $21 million contract extension ($7 million annual average value) he signed July 13, 2018, and said after the season ended he hoped to remain in Vegas.
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“I haven’t given much thought to the future, but it’s always been in my heart to stick around and finish up here,” Fleury said.
Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, said Tuesday that the goalie, who ranks third in NHL history in wins (492), could be considering retirement.
“While Marc-Andre Fleury still hasn’t heard from anybody with the Vegas Golden Knights, he has apparently been traded to Chicago,” Walsh tweeted. “Marc-Andre will be taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time.”
Robin Lehner, who was acquired in a trade with the Blackhawks on Feb. 24, 2020, signed a five-year, $25 million contract ($5 million AAV) Oct. 3. He was 13-4-2 with a 2.29 GAA and .913 she percentage in 19 games, and started three playoff games (1-2, 3.62 GAA, .887 save percentage).
Fleury and Lehner won the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the NHL this season; Vegas allowed an NHL-low 124.
“Our relationship grew over the season,” Fleury said. “We got along very good. As goalies, that’s something you strive for is winning games, but also not giving up too much. I think both of us, we accomplished that this year.”
Fleury was chosen by the Golden Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, and in four seasons with Vegas was 117-60-14 with a 2.41 GAA, .917 save percentage and 23 shutouts in 192 regular-season games (191 starts), and 28-19 with a 2.25 GAA, .920 save percentage and six shutouts in 47 playoff games. He helped the Golden Knights reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2017-18, where they lost the Washington Capitals in five games, and to the Western Conference Final in 2019-20, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in five games.
Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, Fleury trails Martin Brodeur (691) and Patrick Roy (551) in wins. He won the Stanley Cup three times (2009, 2016, 2017) during his 13 seasons with Pittsburgh. Fleury is 492-276-80 with two ties, a 2.55 GAA, .913 save percentage and 67 shutouts in 883 regular-season games (858 starts) and 90-70 with a 2.53 GAA, .912 save percentage and 16 shutouts in 162 playoff games (160 starts).
“I can tell you [having Fleury and Lehner] was obviously an integral part of our success this year in the unique year we were in,” Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer said June 26. “It was obviously a blessing this year. Next year’s a different story. We’re not in those unique circumstances anymore.”
Hakkarainen had one assist in 12 games this season with Rockford of the American Hockey League and Indy of the ECHL. Selected by Chicago in the fifth round of the 2018 NHL Draft, the 23-year-old has yet to make his NHL debut.