Pretty much every article you find regarding Matt Murray‘s new three year $3.75 million per year deal references Las Vegas in some form or fashion. That’s because the deal makes Marc-Andre Fleury expendable, but there’s a problem, he has a no movement clause in his contract, meaning he MUST be protected in the Expansion Draft…unless he waives it.
Are the Penguins telling us they have a guarantee from Fleury that he will indeed waive that clause?
In my eyes, they have to be.
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.
But those three pale in comparison to the fact that he simply doesn’t have value prior to the Expansion Draft. It’s a case of simple supply and demand. The Penguins must move him, so teams are not going to be willing to give much up for a player who is on the NHL’s version of Rollback.
Now, let’s examine what it looks like if Fleury told the Penguins he WILL waive his NMC.
He’s an invaluable Expansion Draft prospect. Every team in the NHL is guaranteed to lose one player in the Draft. If Fleury is traded, the Penguins would lose someone else. Of course they would get a return for the 31-year-old goaltender, but it likely wouldn’t be of the same value as the other player Las Vegas takes.
With Murray protected and Fleury exposed, the Penguins are in a win-win position. If he’s selected, they see nearly $12 million come off their books the next two season and lose an expandable player. If he’s not, his trade value goes back to it’s normal value, and there will be three other teams who just lost their goalie to Las Vegas.
The Penguins would be playing with fire if they don’t have a guarantee from Fleury he’s waiving that clause, and they know it.
Their big problem now, the rest of the league knows it too.
It is my understanding Fleury cannot waive his NMC just for the Expansion Draft, only for a trade.
All the rhetoric from the league claims players will have the option to waive their NMC’s to allow their teams to expose them in the Expansion Draft. It’s on the player, not the team at that point.
Interesting, I hadn’t heard that. That would be interesting to see Fleury in Vegas. Hard to see the Penguins shipping off Murray.
Where did you read this?
Pittsburgh would almost certainly eat some of Fleury’s salary to get a trade done. And after Murray’s deal, it’s quite likely that Fleury won’t be that unhappy at waiving his NMC, as the writing is clearly on the wall that this is now Matt Murray’s team (as if winning the Cup wasn’t enough writing on the wall).
Fleury isn’t going to want to play on a team that has pretty clearly shown they don’t want/need him anymore, and getting traded to a team that’s at least into a rebuilding process (let alone a potential contender) has got to be preferable to going to an expansion team where he would likely lose for the remaining years of his prime.
Jim Rutherford has been a god at making the right trades and personnel moves over the last year and a half. Don’t be surprised when you see Fleury traded for pretty decent value; it’s better for Fleury and the Penguins if he waives his NMC to allow a trade to a team that could use a Cup-winning goalie who’s in his prime (and who had an excellent season last year, before he got injured and displaced by Murray).
I think the Pens would have traded Fleury by now if they were going to trade him. Jeopardizing your Stanley Cup hopes by trading Fleury for a late first round/second round pick isn’t worth the risk. Championship contenders like Chicago give out late first rounders like candy for rentals in order to make a cup run.
Las Vegas could potentially trade Fleury to a contender down the road. He’s a valuable asset.