Marc-Andre Fleury had the better of his former club, the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, when his Vegas Golden Knights won 2-1. And some say that might be enough to qualify the "huge" mistake" by the Pens.
However, NHL insider Pierre LeBrun revealed in The Athletic's notebook some interesting details about the expansion draft by re-visiting how it all went down.
LeBrun confirms that Vegas and Pittsburgh came to an agreement on Flueyr on March 1, allowing the Pens to keep Fleury with them for the successful championship run. The teams finally made it official at the expansion team’s roster reveal, after the Knights landed a 2020 second-round pick in exchange for the assurance of selecting Fleury in the expansion draft and therefore not touching any other unprotected players from the Penguins.
But LeBrun reveals that the Pens might have made a huge mistake by agreeing to these terms in March.
"Obviously back on March 1, veteran Penguins GM Jim Rutherford can’t predict the future and whether or not there would be a huge market for Fleury," LeBrun writes. "Goalie trades are always finicky. Just ask Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman and how long it finally took to find a trading partner for Ben Bishop. It’s the most unpredictable market.
As it turns out, the Calgary Flames, and I think, the Philadelphia Flyers both would have shown some solid interest in Fleury had he actually been available in June. So perhaps the Penguins not only could have kept their 2020 second-round pick but could have got something tangible in return for him from either the Flames or Flyers."
LeBrun does note that Pens GM Jim Rutherford may have felt forced to deal Fleury elsewhere before the March 1 deadline if he didn't have a deal in place with Vegas... in the end, the Penguins probably were able to find the best deal possible with the knowledge they had at the time.
And Fleury and Rutherford have a Cup ring to remember that potential "mistake".