Marc-Andre Fleury has informed the Chicago Blackhawks he intends to play with them this season, according to multiple reports.
The 36-year-old goalie, who won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL last season, was acquired by Chicago in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights for forward prospect Mikael Hakkarainen on Tuesday.
Following the trade, his agent, Allan Walsh, said Fleury was not made aware of the trade and would be “taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future.”
The Blackhawks did not make an announcement but on Sunday tweeted an image of a flower, Fleury’s nickname.
Fleury, who has one season remaining on a three-year, $21 million contract ($7 million average annual value) he signed on July 13, 2018, was 26-10-0 with NHL career bests in goals-against average (1.98) and save percentage (.928) last season. He also had six shutouts and won his 490th NHL game against the Minnesota Wild on May 5 to pass Roberto Luongo for third in League history.
In four seasons with the Golden Knights after being selected in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, Fleury 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 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He helped the Golden Knights advance to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season in 2017-18 before losing to the Washington Capitals in five games.
“I want to thank all the amazing fans in Vegas and my teammates for four incredible years together,” Fleury said in a statement at the time of the trade. “You embraced me and my family from Day One and made playing games at the Fortress (T-Mobile Arena) one of the great joys of my life. We will miss playing in Vegas very much but I am grateful from my time in your city.”
Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, Fleury is 492-276-80 with two ties and a 2.55 GAA, .913 save percentage and 67 shutouts in 883 regular-season games (858 starts). He is also 90-70 with a 2.53 GAA, .912 save percentage and 16 shutouts in 162 postseason games (160 starts), including winning the Stanley Cup three times (2009, 2016, 2017) with the Penguins.
Chicago, which missed the playoffs last season for the third time in four years, used three goalies who had previously combined for 87 games of NHL experience. Rookie Kevin Lankinen played 37 games and was 17-14-5 with a 3.01 GAA, .909 save percentage and two shutouts; Malcolm Subban was 6-8-1 with a 3.20 GAA, .900 save percentage and two shutouts in 16 games (14 starts); and Collin Delia was 1-3-1 with a 3.59 GAA and .902 save percentage in six games (five starts). Lankinen, Subban and Delia each can become an unrestricted free agent after next season.