Marc-Andre Fleury won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie. It’s well-deserved.
Fleury’s stats speak for themselves: He finished third among NHL netminders in goals-against average (1.99), save percentage (.928), shutouts (six) and wins (26).
Despite his hiccup in Vegas’ semifinal loss to Montreal, Fleury has the third-best goals-against average in the playoffs (2.04).
Fleury has three Stanley Cup rings, a Vezina Trophy, and the third-most victories by a goaltender in NHL history (492).
Fleury isn’t just a lock to make the Hall of Fame, he should be first-ballot.
Now Vegas can’t trade him.
Fleury says he’d like to finish his career in Vegas despite Coach Peter DeBoer’s finagling with the goalies during the Montreal series. (The problem wasn’t the goaltending, Coach. Your forwards sucked. That’s what went wrong.)
Perhaps Fleury is just saying the right thing. (But DeBoer screwed Fleury in the 2020 playoffs, too.)
But Vegas can’t trade the Vezina winner, then start his de facto backup. (Fleury started 36 games in the regular season, Robin Lehner 19. Fleury started 16 playoff games, Lehner three.)
Vegas could never sell that to its supporters, especially given Fleury’s popularity. Ditch Fleury and do worse, and your fans defecate all over it. (That happened in Pittsburgh.)
Fleury came very close to returning to the Penguins this past off-season. Vegas’ hockey management wanted to make a deal, but ownership nixed it.
But now, it seems very likely Fleury will play the last year of his contract in Vegas, and perhaps beyond that.
Lehner is good, but Fleury is better. But DeBoer doesn’t always feel that way. He yanked the Vezina Trophy winner from a playoff series after one mistake.