The Golden Knights are built to win.
A franchise that was supposed to take years to truly become a contender was able to achieve that status overnight and with the roster heading into 2019-20, they are looking to take that final step.
Vegas has seven key players signed through the next four seasons. They have another five under contract for each of the next three. Sure, they are pushed up against the cap now, but even with the impending moves, this team is ready to be a favorite in the Western Conference.
There is however one specific piece of the puzzle though that is so crucial to the team’s success, but also might be the most volatile of all.
That’s Marc-Andre Fleury.
He plays the most important position on the ice and he’s played it at an incredibly high level since coming to Vegas. Because of it, the Golden Knights have made back-to-back playoff appearances and raised a pair of banners in the rafters.
But Fleury is 34-years-old and will turn 35 early this season. If there’s one thing we know about sports, it’s that Father Time is undefeated. Some guys maintain their peak level of play longer than others, but every player in the history of sports eventually reaches a point where they just can’t do it anymore.
That day will come for Fleury, and the major question is what happens to the Golden Knights when it does.
Appearing on the Press Box on ESPN Radio Las Vegas, GM Kelly McCrimmon was posed a question about the team’s window in relation to their 34-year-old superstar goalie. His answer was telling.
Certainly, Marc-Andre is tremendously important to our team’s success and we are very fortunate to have a player of his ability and add to that his leadership and his character makes him a big big part of our team. We’ve never ever talked about shaping the rest of our team based on any player’s particular window. We’ll always be a team that’s trying to build around a core of good players and that’s our focus now and we need Marc-Andre to be a big part of that. -McCrimmon
The idea is to have a good enough core to be able to withstand any one piece’s demise. Sounds noble, but is it realistic when talking about Fleury?
We can only hope.
Otherwise, they better find another sucker to give away a Hall of Famer.