The Vegas Golden Knights have earned the reputation as a team willing to win at all costs. A ruthless organization when it comes to their players, they sign big names to big contracts and go after almost everyone, but also trade big names when they underperform. The Golden Knights have truly shown that the NHL is a business and there’s little-to-no loyalty when it comes to making roster decisions.
Case in point, Vegas traded goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury this offseason. A player who wanted to stay and retire as a member of the Golden Knights organization, not only was Fleury moved for virtually no return as a salary cap dump, but he wasn’t told about the deal until after he found out about it on social media.
Ultimately, Fleury did decide to join the Chicago Blackhawks, but it took a minute for that situation to play itself out and the Golden Knights took some heat in the process, much of it coming because it was believed they should have treated their first-ever franchise player better.
But, as reports are surfacing this weekend, specifically from a story in The Las Vegas Review-Journal, it is being learned that Fleury’s agent, Allan Walsh is the reason Fleury got the shaft from his former team. Apparently, Vegas did want to share the news with the netminder that they were working on a deal and wanted to tell him he was traded before it was discovered on Twitter. Unfortunately, Walsh was being conniving behind the scenes and trying to ruin the trade before it could ever materialize.
Whether this was at the request of the player or this was Walsh just taking matters into his own hands — which he’s often done in an attempt to do what he feels is right for his player — the Golden Knights are accusing him of reaching out to teams and trying to convince them not to trade for Fleury because the goaltender would retire if moved. It was for that reason the Golden Knights had to keep Walsh and, ultimately, Fleury out of the loop.
President of hockey operations, George McPhee said Walsh started working behind the scenes to “sabotage the trade” and added:
“Kelly couldn’t have handled it better. They knew they were being traded. If you’re doing what’s right for the organization and you’re honest with the players, you’ve got nothing to apologize for. Ever. And again, we’re telling the truth.”
The report notes that the publication has reached out to Walsh numerous times for comments on the accusations but he has not returned multiple messages. They are interested in getting confirmation from Walsh if he was telling teams the player wouldn’t report. It’s not a crazy notion when you consider that Fleury had to take a little time before deciding to join the Blackhawks.
Walsh Has Been Quite Outspoken in the Past
If Walsh doesn’t comment, this will be one of the few times he elects not to weigh in on a subject this controversial. Walsh is the same agent who posted a photo of his client (Fleury) with a sword stabbed through his back after there was anger over the amount of playing time Fleury was sharing with fellow Golden Knights’ netminder Robin Lehner. It was a graphic and unnecessary photo that both the player and agent took some criticism for.
The photo was eventually removed, but not before it went viral. Fleury noted that his agent meant well and argued there was no issue between himself and Lehner, nor was he upset with coach Pete DeBoer. Is this just another instance where Walsh thought he was doing the right thing and actually caused issues for his client? Vegas claims that if Walsh had just properly let things unfold and the trade talks go down as they were advised it would, Fleury would have gotten the exit he wanted.
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