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Marc-Andre Fleury discusses Vegas’ goalie drama
The Vegas Golden Knights’ goaltending controversy has been well documented.
Back in February, Vegas acquired Robin Lehner from the Blackhawks to shore up their goaltending as Marc-Andre Fleury was struggling with the starter’s gig. In the playoffs, Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh, posted an image on Twitter with a sword going through his client’s back that said Peter DeBoer.
The Golden Knights rolled with Lehner in the playoffs and inked him to a five-year contract extension ahead of free agency to keep him around in Vegas. After that, rumours swirled that Fleury’s time as a Golden Knight would be finished as the team would look to move him and his $7 million cap hit.
But now it looks like that won’t be the case and that the Golden Knights will head into 2020-21 with a two-headed goalie tandem of Lehner and Fleury. Lehner is going through shoulder surgery this off-season and it’s expected he’ll be ready for the start of the season.
On Thursday, Fleury spoke with Le Journal De Montreal about the controversy in Vegas and what it all means moving forward…
I was stressed. I watched the news, it wasn’t always good rumors for me. There are always a ton of rumors, but there aren’t many that come true… I still found it surprising as an outcome. My name was circulating quite a bit for a trade. But I am happy. I am lucky enough to stay in Vegas. I will still play for a good team. I won’t have to move, which is also a good thing… I am ready to share. This year, I also expect it to be a strange season. There will probably be several games in a few days, there will be a condensed schedule. I think not all teams will have the choice to use their two goalies. For this year, it will be a good thing to have two competitive goalies. It will give our team a good chance. – Journal De Montreal
While spending $12 million on a goaltending tandem isn’t ideal, it’s critical for teams two have two competent goalies in 2020-21. As Fleury notes, the league will likely be operating with a condensed schedule as they try to squeeze as many games in between January and the start of the Olympics on July 23 as possible. That’ll mean many games on back-to-back nights in which two different goalies will be playing.
Fleury will likely be a trade candidate again next off-season as the Golden Knights try to shed the final year of his contract.
The Bruins might have interest in Karl Alzner
The Bruins’ blueline could look very different in 2020-21.
The team has already lost Torey Krug in free agency and there’s no guarantee that captain Zdeno Chara will return for another season. Other than veteran Kevan Miller, Boston’s entire ground of defenders under contract are under the age of 26.
Joe Haggerty at Boston Hockey Now says that he’s heard that the team could be interested in signing Karl Alzner as a free agent.
Alzner signed a five-year contract with the Canadiens back in 2017 but only ended up playing one full season with the team. The Habs buried Alzner in the AHL and he ended up playing just 13 NHL games between 2018-19 and 2019-20. Alzner was bought out of the final two years of his contract this off-season and is now a free agent.
Though Alzner is obviously far from a game-changer, he could still be a quality veteran for the young Bruins’ blueliners, especially if Chara doesn’t return. He would also surely be a cheap sign.
Joe Thornton signs in Toronto
As had been rumoured all off-season, Joe Thornton is heading home.
The 41-year-old future Hall of Famer has inked a one-year deal worth $700k to join the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Kyle Dubas has added a tremendous amount of veteran leadership to the young Leafs’ roster this year. Beyond Thornton, the Leafs have added Wayne Simmonds, who won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in 2019, Zach Bogosian, who just won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, and @T.J. Brodie.
Thornton scored 31 points last season over 70 games and could fill in as Toronto’s third centre. If that’s the plan, we’ll likely hear Alex Kerfoot’s name in trade rumours as the Leafs try to open up some more cap space.