Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t new to the business side of the NHL. He knows what went down between the trade deadline and the end of the Golden Knights playoff run, he understands the Golden Knights salary cap situation, and he sees the writing on the wall. No matter what he says or does now, nothing is going to change what will happen in the coming weeks (or maybe months).
So, when placed in that situation, might as well say the right thing before the inevitable happens.
Marc said that he wants to stay in Vegas, and he’s not looking for or seeking a trade anywhere else. He’s perfectly happy to co-exist with Robin Lehner, if that’s what ultimately happens. To some extent the decision making is out of his hands. But he wanted everyone to know where he stands and that he loves Vegas. –Alan Walsh on TSN 690
Walsh, Fleury’s agent, backed up what his client said to The Athletic’s Jesse Granger last week. You should read that interview if you haven’t yet, but to sum it up, Fleury hasn’t and won’t asked to be traded, he hopes to retire in Vegas, and he’d be perfectly happy to share the goal with Robin Lehner in 2020.
It’s all true, but there’s a motive behind the message Fleury was trying to get out. Speaking optimistically about the uncertainty of his future was a tactic and a smart one at that.
By stating he isn’t asking for a trade, Fleury is wisely playing both sides of the fence. He’s showing his appreciation and fondness for the fan base and the city of Las Vegas, but the 35-year-old goaltender was also signaling if and probably when a trade happens, it’s on the organization, not him.
He has great connection to the community. He loves his teammates and he came on board as literally player number one and wants to finish the journey that he set out on when he went to Vegas. Ending with a winning cup. He’s not looking for a change or anything else. –Walsh on TSN 690
With his comments, Fleury’s hands are wiped clean going forward. It’s hard for fans to get on a player when he specifically says he didn’t want to be traded. Instead, if/when it happens, it places all of the blame on the Golden Knights. It’s a savvy move by a savvy player, with a savvy agent.
Right now we are where we’re at, and Marc just wants people to know he’s not looking to go somewhere else. –Walsh on TSN 690
Professional sports franchises, like high-earning companies, do what’s best for them. Players, or employees, are subject to being rewarded or replaced. Fleury has had both happened to him while with Vegas. In the summer of 2018, he was rewarded. Less than two years later he was replaced.
When asked how Vegas could pay and carry both Fleury and Robin Lehner, Walsh wasn’t concerned with the Golden Knights tight budget.
That’s why my job is to negotiate contracts on behalf of players. My job is not to manage an individual team’s cap situation. They’re going to have to manage their cap just like every other team has to. That can’t be my concern, my concern is only with my client. –Walsh on TSN 690
Fleury may not like how things will end, and he knows many fans won’t either. So, he wanted the fans to know he wasn’t the cause of the breakup. The OG (original goaltender) says it’s not me, it’s you… well really, them.