If the season ended today (which would be really nice), the Golden Knights would be raising their third division banner in four seasons to the rafters, they’d be among the top five in the NHL in points percentage, and they’d probably be the favorites to reach at least the semifinals, if not win the Stanley Cup.
Also, one prominent figure in VGK history would likely be in line for an award that has alluded him during his entire illustrious career. That, of course, is Marc-Andre Fleury winning the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender in the NHL.
Fleury has played in 19 of the Golden Knights’ 25 games, he’s won 14 of them and registered shutouts in four. He currently leads the NHL in save percentage, goals against average, goals allowed adjusted, and shutouts, and he is #2 in GSAA and #3 in goalie point shares.
To put it as simply as possible, Marc-Andre Fleury has been the best player on the Golden Knights, he’s been the best goalie in the NHL, and he’s among the top 10 players in the entire league this season.
And to think, this is a player the Golden Knights benched during the playoffs last season in favor of a trade deadline acquisition. It’s a player they essentially decided had seen his best years pass him by and were looking to move in the offseason. It’s a player, that, in all likelihood, if any other team in the NHL was willing to take on his $7 million salary, would not be on the Golden Knights right now.
So, that begs the question, where would the Golden Knights be if they had traded Fleury?
To answer that question, I’m going to attack it from a variety of different statistical angles. Obviously, the off-ice portion of his game cannot be qualified, but we’ll try to factor that in at the end as well. So, here goes.