Chicago Blackhawks’ Marc-Andre Fleury announces he will play this season
By Jordan Laroche
In what was one of the more surprising moves this offseason, the Vegas Golden Knights sent Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks. Initial reports from the trade stated that Fleury had no interest in playing for the Blackhawks, until this morning where he has come out and said that he will play this year.
Fleury was selected in the Vegas expansion draft in 2017 and was part of their inaugural team that went to the Stanley Cup Final. What seemed like a great relationship between Fleury and the Knights started to crumble last year in the playoffs when Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, tweeted out a picture of Fleury with a sword stabbed in his back with Vegas’ Head Coach, Pete Deboer’s name on it.
After that, it was no secret that the relationship was fractured, and that appeared to fuel Fleury as this was his best year statistically. In 36 starts this year Fleury had a 1.98GAA, .928 SV% with a 26-10 record, and continued that success through most of the playoffs.
Fleury’s last game in the playoffs was in game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens after a turnover while trying to play the puck. While Fleury played well to that point, Deboer decided to start Robin Lehner in game 4.
Fleury has been one of the biggest personalities in the NHL over the last decade and is well liked around the league. So it was disheartening to see that he found out about the trade to Chicago through social media.
But Fleury is joining a Chicago team that is on the rise, that will be seeing the return of Jonathan Toews and with new pieces in Seth Jones and Tyler Johnson. Fleury can also be a valuable mentor for young goaltender Kevin Lankinen who looks to be a promising prospect.