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.