Marc-Andre Fleury heeded the call of the Wild for another chance at winning
The Minnesota Wild were after Marc-Andre Fleury for weeks leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday. GM Bill Guerin worked the phones hard, telling NHL Network that it wasn’t easy with plenty of ups and downs.
Ultimately, Guerin got his old teammate to leave Chicago and head to Minnesota.
He acquired the third-winningest goaltender in NHL history for a conditional second-round draft pick that becomes a first-round pick if the Wild reach the Western Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs this season and Fleury is the winning goalie in at least four games to that point.
Marc-Andre Fleury goes Wild
Trade rumors swirled around Fleury for weeks as the Blackhawks stumbled to a 22-32-9 (53 points) mark and are well out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
The Wild, however, were 38-20-4 (76 points) and in playoff contention before making the trade for Fleury — the reigning Vezina and Jennings Trophy winner — for the stretch run and beyond. They won his first game thanks to a shutout by Cam Talbot on that night.
Fleury, 37, was selected by Pittsburgh with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NHL Draft, and he went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Penguins. One of those was with Bill Guerin as a teammate in 2008-2009.
“I’ve known Billy for awhile right. It’s always nice to see him in the hallway and stuff when we come visit,” Fleury said via the team’s website. “Once I got on that first phone call with him after the trade to reassure me in the family stuff he was awesome. He’s a guy you can always count on and rely on. It’s pretty cool, pretty cool to be back on his team.”
This season with Chicago, Fleury had a 19-21-5 mark in 45 games, with a 2.95 GAA and .908 save percentage.
Fleury wants to win
When Fleury was unexpectedly traded from Vegas to the Chicago there was genuine concern that he may opt to retire. Eventually, after talking it over with his family they decided to give the Windy City a chance.
“There’s a lot that goes into [the decision],” Fleury said last August “I was very fortunate that they gave me some time to reflect on what I wanted to do, what was best for me and my family.”
That’s why leading up to the deadline reports surfaced that he may stay put. One of the assurances Fleury received from Hawks management is that he would have complete say if he was going to be traded this season and to where.
When the opportunity arose to join a winning team led by an old friend the decision wasn’t as difficult.
“I think it’s a great team. They play a great structured game, play well defensively, they’re heavy — I think they’re built for playoffs,” Fleury explained. “Billy did a great job putting this thing together.”
For the veteran netminder, this also presents one more shot to go for the Stanley Cup.
“I love to compete and to play, the fun of the game, but I don’t know. There’s not much that beats winning,” Fleury said. “You’re always chasing that feeling and that achievement. Yeah, just want to keep doing it again.”
–Field Level Media contributed to this report.