This past offseason most Golden Knights fans thought the face of the franchise would be traded. Based on reports, it almost happened. However, that face, Marc-Andre Fleury, made it known publicly that he desired to stay in Las Vegas and hadn’t asked to be moved. Luckily for the Golden Knights front office, a deal never materialized.
The front office that gifted the Golden Knights with the future Hall of Famer knew long before, that Fleury wanted to resume his career in Las Vegas.
I knew he had lots, lots left in him. In Fleury’s case, when he knew that he was the odd man out he came and met with me and said ‘if there’s any way you can get me to Las Vegas, that’s where I’d like to go.’ So, I made sure I made that happen. I felt like I owed that to him. –Jim Rutherford, former Penguins GM w/ Cam & Strick podcast
Long before his name was called by The Creator in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft, Fleury was focused on becoming the starting goaltender for the Golden Knights.
After being drafted by Vegas, the 33-year-old, at the time, went on to have one of the best seasons of his career. After losing his starting position in Pittsburgh, the “I’ll show them” motivation factor was high for Fleury. Sort of like what’s happening this season.
I’m emotionally connected to guys that I win a championship with. The Marc-Andre Fleury trade was the hardest one for me, because I love the guy. He’s a special, very special person. –Rutherford, former Penguins GM
Last night’s 1-0 defeat to Minnesota was only Fleury’s fourth of the season. In those four losses, the goaltender allowed eight goals combined. He’s second in the league with a 2.04 GAA in losses, and number one overall with a 1.57 GAA. Win or lose, the numbers show that Fleury keeps his team in the game more than any other goalie in the NHL.
Of course, they’ll be no way to prove it but the handwriting was on the wall for the goaltender and the new franchise. Pittsburgh knew they had to move on, Fleury was aware and the Golden Knights were opportunistic. It was the perfect second marriage, and both parties were excited to form a union of misfits.
I make a lot of trades, I’m not going to get them all right. When I don’t get one right I’m not afraid to say it. I move on. –Rutherford, former Penguins GM
It was set up to be a storybook ending for Fleury in Vegas, but questionable decisions seemed to derail that path, until now. He told Rutherford in 2017, and Golden Knights fans in 2020, the goaltender wanted to be in Vegas and didn’t want to leave Vegas. His performance this season is showing that.
Oh, and make no doubts about it, Fleury has a little motivation to prove them wrong. He didn’t need to but he does nightly.
He’s an acrobat in net. If he didn’t play hockey, he would of been a gold medal diver or an acrobat. We are so lucky to have him !
No question Fleury is the man and finally DeBoer and management realize that. For what he went through last year and to come back this year and perform the way he has is a testament to his character. He’s lost two 1-0 games this year so that’s a 120 minutes of no fire power whats so ever. I’ve been a baseball guy all my life but like everyone else I’ve fallen in love with the Knights and just observing the Knights we do have some problems. Our fourth line has one goal for the season and yes there a heavy line but yesterday when were down 1-0 with 6 minutes to go why would they be on the ice. I would think you’d need more offensive guys in the game at that time. Kolesar is our enigma this year management must think he has something but I don’t see it zero points and gives the puck away far to often. You put him on waivers and someone snags him not sure that’s not a good thing of coarse the best option would be to include him in a trade that way at least you get something . I’ve also noticed bad passing players not keeping there head up and can’t anticipate where the defense is and turn it over time after time. Glass and Stone are very good at this part of the game and we need more players with that talent when we draft. Is anyone else getting tired of Theadore and his 80 foot shots that never get through I think all that talk of him being so good has went to his head. Again we’ve got a nice team but if you don’t have a net presence and you can’t get the puck out of your end in the playoffs good teams will burn you and Fleury can only do so much.
Thanks for the story. As a long time Penguins fan (and long time Flower fan), I knew about 80% of this before, but the story filled in some gaps. Good story about a terrific goaltender.
DOC (Go Knights Go)
Hey Miri ….. As a Pens fan, I hope you guys have much more positive sites for your fans, than we do here.
We do not sir.
Doc, you seem like a nice guy but please take off the rose colored glasses. Any criticism of the Knights and we all fall in this category of Knight Bashing. The truth is objective criticism is not a bad thing. Watch the game as we all do and give it the eye test first on defense Martinez and Whitecloud stand out there in on most plays. metro at 8.8 million a year is a bust. He makes bad passes can’t keep up with opponents going to the net he’s not awful but a long way from a stud. Our fourth line has one goal and four assists for the year that has to change. I like most of the other guys except Kolesar who doesn’t show me much and Roy is overrated what’s he done on the third line. Lastly I think Theadore’s heads to big and I don’t like his game right now. Not being a Debbie Downer but tell me those aren’t issues facing the team.
DOC (Go Knights Go)
Rose colored glasses? Really? How about I simply don’t agree with many of your assessments/views. I’m allowed to do that, aren’t I? Thank you in advance!
As someone that still remembers exactly where they were when they heard the Penguins traded up to the #1 overall spot to take the Flower, I’d like to say to the fans of VGK, NEVER underestimate him, and CHERISH every save, every smile, every prank he plays on his teammates. A week after he was let go by the Pens, he and his wife dedicated a playground for kids with special needs here in Pittsburgh, that his foundation built.
He is a class act on the ice and off!!!
I was sicken last year the way FLEURY was treated Lehner is no FLEURY but who is I’m not a Pete fan at all he stuck the dagger in FLEURY’S back big mistake as predicted Lehner was a bust non athletic and 25 mill for 5 years will never be the same VEGAS would be in last if not for FLEURY he won 3 STANLEY CUPS that means a lot VEGAS is still riding a hot dice hand as long as they have FLEURY in net one more thing they need more enforcement on the ice I’ll give you a tip a good defense will shut down a so called good offense in any sport especially in short series ie playoffs world championships one more thing Marc Andrea Fleuey is the Tom Brady of Hockey I’ll take them both there worth there weight in GOLD
I’m still waiting to see him win a cup without choking and having to be saved by a different goalie. Maybe he’ll do it this year?
Valerie…. Perhaps you have not seen this. How’s this for choking?
(2009 Stanley cup final game 7 vs Detroit).
He was spectacular in the inaugural VGK season – leading the team to the finals – but the TEAM ran out of gas. The SC loss vs. the Caps was certainly not all on Fleury.
Exactly… How quickly some forget!!!
2016 he was hurt when Murray stepped in, 17 he was being phased out. In ‘18 VGK D had NO answer for Wash top line. Kuznetzov owned the VGK blue liners the entire series!
Vegas won the lottery ( no pun intended) when they stole, uhm I mean got, Flower from the Pens. I am in awe of the class that he shows after the way he was treated last year by his coach and his GM. They thought Lehner was another Patrick Roy and spat (you can put an H in for the P) on Fleury, treating him about as badly as you can without publicly calling him a bum! Flower, 100% Class Act that he is, never said anything. Now he’s doing what he’s always done, winning hockey games. The Golden Knights are blessed with a really sharp GM, and ownership that wants to win the Cup. That’s all you can ask for as a fan. Enjoy your team. You can almost certainly count on at least one or even two Stanley Cups in the next decade. As a displaced Blackhawks fan (grew up with Mikita and Hull as my heroes, but I’ve lived in SoCal since 1990), I can appreciate it when the owner wants to win. I have ZERO IDEA what happened to Rocky Wirtz, but he’s slowly turning into his father, who was constantly voted the WORST owner in sports along with Donald Sterling, and keeping Bowman has ruined a team that won 3 Stanley Cups in a 6 year span. They are a complete joke now and Rocky is trying to get back the season ticket holders who are like me: No way as long as Bowman is the GM.
Is there room on the bandwagon for another West Coast fan? Because I think this year could be the first time you all will get to raise the Cup.
I am a die-hard Pens fan and Flower fan…and believe me when I say that for me games just ain’t the same in Pittsburgh without MAF. We still miss him and hopefully he will one day wear the black n’ gold again.
He will trust me, after all of the knights fans talking trash about fleury and saying that the knights should start Lehner, fleury is 100% leaving Vegas the GM had no choice but to say yes if fleury asked to leave