LAS VEGAS — The MLB trade deadline is this week and the NBA Draft is on Thursday, causing major offseason moves, but the National Hockey League is having a heck of an offseason itself.
On Tuesday, the Vegas Golden Knights shocked the hockey world when they reportedly traded goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks and in return only received minor league forward Mikael Hakkarainen. Chicago will take on the entire $7 million salary cap hit that Fleury will make next season, which explains the low return.
SUBSCRIBE: The Locked On NHL podcast is your daily podcast for all NHL news, notes, rumors and analysis. Listen for free wherever you get your podcasts.
There's a lot to unpack here.
First, Fleury, 36, is coming off a Vezina Trophy season with the Knights. The Vezina Trophy is awarded to the NHL's top goaltender.
In 2017, the Knights selected Fleury in the expansion draft at the birth of the franchise after he played 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and won three Stanley Cups.
Fleury is under contract with the Vegas Golden Knights through next season and will count for $7 million against the salary cap.
By trading him to Chicago, reports indicate Vegas will not retain any of Fleury's salary, so, Fleury is now completely off Vegas' books.
According to multiple reports, Fleury had a 10-team no-trade list and Chicago was not on that list. However, according to CapFriendly, Fleury would have been able to submit a new 10-team no-trade list that would have started on Wednesday. Whether Chicago would have been on that list is obviously not known.
To make matters worse, a report from The Athletic's Jesse Granger said Fleury found out about the trade through Twitter.
Fleury's agent Allan Walsh tweeted that Fleury had not heard from anybody with the Vegas Golden Knights about the trade and that he would be taking time to "evaluate the situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time."
So now Fleury may contemplate retirement instead of moving to a new franchise.
According to CapFriendly, if Fleury does decide to retire, his $7 million cap hit will be completely removed and Chicago will not have to pay anything.
In 36 starts in the 2020-21 season, Fleury secured a goals against average of 1.98 and a 0.928 save percentage, both career highs for the 36-year-old veteran.