Special? Not special? Which one do we even want them to be? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
For the second straight game, the losing goaltender suggested there’s “nothing special” about the Golden Knights. However, by no means were Matt Murray or James Reimer being critical. If anything, both goalies were overly impressed by Vegas.
I don’t know if you can be underrated with their record, at some point (you’re) not underrated. Honestly, hats off to them. They’re an honest hockey team. They come and they work hard and they work honest. So there’s nothing special to their game, they’re a group that’s working very well and very hard here. -James Reimer, Florida Goaltender
The House Always Wins. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)
If one game could sum up the Golden Knights season, last night was it. Considered the ultimate redemption game for Vegas, they beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs, and did it with a goal from a guy who has been a healthy scratch in each of the last five games and 12 of the past 13. Not only did the team win for their star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury but they continue to handle the NHL’s best. After the 2–1 Golden Knights win, Fleury’s old mates commented on an emotional night.
When you see him in there it’s a little different, but once you get into play, you’re playing. Yeah, it’s the first time we played against each other, it’s to be expected to feel different. -Sidney Crosby, Penguins Captain
Maybe that’s a reason why #87 didn’t have one shot on goal. Alright, that’s a stretch but it was a difficult night for the two-time Conn Smythe winner.
I think they skate well. Every line plays the same and they keep it pretty simple. They didn’t beat themselves or make mistakes that could hurt them. When they did they didn’t break down and got some saves. Both goalies were good, but it’s just one of those games. Then they found a way to get that last one in the third. -Crosby
The win didn’t seem to upset Crosby nearly as much as it did Mike Sullivan.
It was a hard-fought game. It was another one of those games that could’ve went either way. There were chances on both sides and I thought the goaltending at both ends of the rink was good. It seems like those are the type of games that we’re in night in and night out and we haven’t found ways to win those, and that’s what we have to do. -Mike Sullivan, Penguins Head Coach
As Sullivan mentioned, the goaltending was good on both ends of the rink. For sixty minutes, Fleury was the better goaltender. His new teammates aggressively pressured his former backup Matt Murray.
They are just absolutely a dog and a bone on that puck. They just work so hard, and I think that’s where they know it caught us by surprise on a couple. Especially on the forecheck where like I said, caught by surprise, quick turn over, bang bang to the net. That’s what they are good at we knew that going into it, but they are definitely a hard working team and a fast team. Good in transition. You know, I don’t think they do anything special but they work extremely hard and I think that’s why they have such success. -Matt Murray, Penguins Goaltender
Quick, hard-working, strong on the forecheck, and good in transition. Basically, the Webster’s dictionary definition of an NHL playoff team.
There was also something about a dog and a bone, but we’ll leave that one alone for now.
Let’s say Fleury does NOT intend on waiving his NMC therefore forcing them to protect him and leave Matt Murray exposed. Assuming the Pens want to keep Murray, they would then have two choices. 1) Trade Fleury before June 17th when the Expansion Protected Lists are due. 2) Make a deal with Las Vegas to not select Matt Murray.
Of the two options, it’s clear the first would be the better route for Pittsburgh. However, there are major hurdles to completing a deal for Fleury.
First off, Marc-Andre Fleury has a limited no trade clause. There are 12 teams listed on his contract in which he can not be traded to. Therefore, the pool of eligible trade partners sits at just 17. Problem number two lies in his contract. He’s scheduled to make $5.75 million each of the next three seasons (thru the 18-19 season), a number many teams would not want to take on and/or cannot afford under the cap. Problem three, he has an NMC in which he’s not willing to waive (in this hypothetical), so he must be protected by whichever team acquires him.
The first rule we learned about in the proposed Expansion Draft is teams are only allowed to protect one goalie. They have two options on skaters, but it’s been confirmed by many league sources that in every draft scenario only one goalie can be protected.
That is the easy part.
Here’s where it gets more difficult. TSN’s Gary Lawless reported players with No Movement Clauses (NMC’s) must be protected while players with No Trade Clauses (NTC’s) do not have to be protected. The problem is, the contract of Marc-Andre Fleury falls somewhere in between.
(Fleury’s contract) also includes a limited no-movement clause, which essentially means he can’t be waived or sent to the minors, and a modified no-trade clause. It is believed to allow Fleury to, before each season, submit a list of 12 teams to which he cannot be traded –Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette