Goalie moves at trade deadline: Wild gets Marc-Andre Fleury, trades Kaapo Kahkonen, Victor Rask – Star Tribune

Goalie moves at trade deadline: Wild gets Marc-Andre Fleury, trades Kaapo Kahkonen, Victor Rask – Star Tribune
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The Wild will have a different look in net for the rest of the season, with the team acquiring future Hall of Famer and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury from the Blackhawks on Monday before the NHL trade deadline expired.

This deal cost the Wild a 2022 conditional first-round draft pick that will turn into a second rounder if the Wild doesn’t reach the Western Conference final and Fleury isn’t in net for four wins or more through the first two rounds.

The Blackhawks also retained half of Fleury’s salary. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season and waived his no-trade clause to facilitate the deal.

Fleury will back up Cam Talbot for the Wild on Monday night when the team faces the Golden Knights at Xcel Energy Center.

Marc-Andre Fleury career statistics

“They are built for the playoffs,” Fleury said during a news conference after arriving. “I’m excited to be here with a team that should be in the playoffs with a chance to make a run.”

In a separate transaction, the team shipped goalie Kaapo Kahkonen and a 2022 fifth-round pick (originally from San Jose) to the Sharks for left shot defenseman Jacob Middleton.

Wild General Manager Bill Guerin, who played on a Stanley Cup winner with Fleury, said Talbot was one of the first people that reached out to Fleury.

“I was a little worried about chemistry … because it’s gone really well this year,” Guerin said. “But they can all help our team and I’m so confident in the group that we already have, that they’ll welcome these guys.

“I know Flower. I know him well. And I know what he can do.”

The Wild also traded center Victor Rask to Seattle for future considerations, paying 50 percent of his remaining contract, and assigned forward Connor Dewar to the American Hockey League in a paper move to make Dewar eligible to return to Iowa; Dewar is remaining with the Wild, using up one of the team’s four available recalls the rest of the season.

The 37-year-old Fleury is 19-21-5 with a 2.95 goals-against average and .908 save percentage this season with Chicago, which acquired him from Vegas in the offseason. Before then, Fleury, the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, won three Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh, a tenure that overlapped with Wild General Manager Bill Guerin when he was with the Penguins as a player and then moved into their front office.

Kahkonen went 12-8 with the Wild this season with a 2.87 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. Overall, he exits the organization after going 31-17-4 with a 2.89 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. The 25-year-old is technically a rookie, although he was the backup last season and played 24 games.

Talbot is under contract next season before his three-year deal expires. The Wild drafted goalie Jesper Wallstedt in the first round (20th overall) in 2021, and the 19-year-old is playing for Lulea HF, the second-place team in the 14-team top Swedish league this season.

Middleton, 26, has three goals and six assists in 45 games for the Sharks and is averaging 19:03 time on ice. He was the last pick, 210th overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft, by the Los Angeles Kings.

Earlier Monday the Wild sent the rights to former third round pick Jack McBain, who played four seasons at Boston College, to the Arizona Coyotes for a second-round in 2022. McBain told the Wild he wouldn’t sign, and would have been a free agent in mid-August as a result.

Fleury will take defenseman Dmitry Kulikov’s No. 29 sweater, and Kulikov will switch to No. 7. Middleton will wear No. 5.