The Chicago Blackhawks are trading goaltender Marc-André Fleury to the Minnesota Wild for a conditional second-round pick that can become a first, The Athletic confirmed on Monday. The draft pick could turn into a first if the Wild reach the Western Conference finals and Fleury wins at least four games in those rounds.
Fleury waived his no-trade clause to move to Minnesota, The Athletic confirmed. Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen has also been traded to the San Jose Sharks along with a fifth-round pick in exchange for defenseman Jacob Middleton according to a source.
Fleury’s time in Chicago was brief but memorable, as one of the most universally beloved players in the game quickly became a local fan favorite. But it wasn’t just his personality that won over the city; it was his play. Athletic and competitive as ever, Fleury’s numbers are somewhat pedestrian this season, thanks largely to the dicey defense he played behind — particularly during a brutal first month of the season, which was bad enough to get Jeremy Colliton fired as head coach.
But if not for Fleury, the Blackhawks would be even worse off than they are. His performance Tuesday in an overtime loss to Boston was a perfect example. The Bruins dominated every facet of the game, but Fleury made 46 saves — several of them spectacular — to get the game to overtime and steal a point. He can still do that. He’s the reigning Vezina winner, after all. And behind a better team, he could be a difference-maker in the playoffs.
Fleury controlled his own fate at the deadline. His no-movement clause includes only 10 teams, but after it took him a few days to accept whether to play in Chicago at all last summer, former general manager Stan Bowman gave Fleury an unofficial assurance that he wouldn’t trade him without clearing it with him first. New GM Kyle Davidson honored that pledge, which naturally limited Chicago’s options.
“If I move, I would love to have a chance to win,” Fleury said on Feb. 16. “That’s what I play for and what I love. But it’s still a big if at this point.”
Fleury is in the last year of his contract but has said he’d like to continue playing next season.
For more, follow The Athletic’s trade deadline live updates.
(Photo: Mike Dinovo / USA Today)