In recent years, the Vegas Golden Knights have become notorious for making questionable decisions in terms of player personnel.
Whether it’s acquiring players they simply don’t have room for, or trading some of their top players for little to no assets, they have developed a reputation for being very short-sighted in terms of team success. With that said, however, there is one move in particular, according to a recent article published by Bleacher Report, that stands out above the others. That move happened to be one during the 2021 offseason, which saw them offload Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks, with nothing but a marginal prospect at best coming back in return.
“The Marc-Andre Fleury saga in Vegas turned out to be one of the wildest storylines in recent NHL history.
Starting with the team’s debut in 2017-18, he was the face of the franchise, the most popular player, and a key cornerstone for the team. But when Peter DeBoer took over as head coach it was clear that he did not trust Fleury.
Vegas acquired Robin Lehner during the 2020 season, ended up starting him over Fleury, and then re-signed Lehner to a long-term deal when Fleury was still under contract to be the primary goalie.
But an injury to Lehner allowed Fleury to get his starting job back in 2020-21, and he ended up winning his first Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie.
How did Vegas respond? It traded Fleury for nothing in a salary-dump move, again choosing Lehner over him.
It backfired horribly.
Lehner has been constantly injured ever since, he is now sidelined for the entirety of the 2022-23 season, and the Golden Knights have to figure out how to make it all work with an unproven Logan Thompson in goal.”Adam Gretz, Bleacher Report
It’s hard to argue with the decision here, despite the fact this management group also traded Max Pacioretty for nothing but future considerations this past summer. Not only was Fleury a fan favorite as the article mentions, but at the time of the deal, he was the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.
Fleury went on to spend just part of the 2021-22 season with Chicago before being dealt to the Minnesota Wild. They were clearly happy with the veteran netminder, and have since signed him to a two-year, $7 million extension. He remains their starting goaltender this season, and, despite his slow start, is still regarded as one of the best in the business. Safe to say, if general manager Kelly McCrimmon were given the chance to do things over, he certainly would.
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