They say when you have goaltending you have a chance. Is that true for the Chicago Blackhawks now that Marc-Andre Fleury is in net? The Blackhawks took a low-cost gamble in acquiring Fleury. It seemed like perhaps he’d choose to retire instead of play. A couple of days away has given the Vezina Trophy Winner time to think and he’s ready to join a team he believes has a lot of good pieces.
Related: Marc-Andre Fleury Informs Blackhawks He’ll Play Next Season
On July 27, one of the more shocking NHL trades in some time was made as the Vegas Golden Knights chose to send goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for prospect Mikael Hakkarainen. What made this move even more shocking were the reports that followed shortly after, stating that Fleury was not happy with the deal and was considering retirement.
Since then, the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy winner has changed his stance and says he will be joining the Blackhawks for the upcoming season. Speaking with media on Wednesday, he wanted to make it very clear that he has no problems with Chicago or the organization, but was simply shocked by the trade at the time it happened. “I’m very fortunate that Stan gave me some time to reflect on what I wanted to do,” Fleury said. “I’ve talked to a bunch of guys and I keep hearing a bunch of great things.”
While the trade was quite surprising, many did expect the Golden Knights to move a goaltender given that they had two bonafide number ones in Fleury and Robin Lehner. Now, Chicago has one of those starters and that could be the big piece that brings the Blackhawks back into the NHL playoff conversation, especially when you consider the other moves they pulled off this offseason.
The Blackhawks have moved on from veteran defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — Keith went to Edmonton and Seabrook Tampa Bay. Coming in to replace them is Seth Jones and Jake McCabe. At the forward position, the Blackhawks still have one of the most talented players in the NHL in Patrick Kane. They’ve got young stars like Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews is expected to return and the team picked up Tyler Johnson in a cap dump move as part of the Seabrook trade.
It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to throw the idea of a rebuild out the window and add pieces to contend now.
For the Blackhawks, adding Fleury was a no-brainer. The fact that he wants to play is a risk that might pay off handsomely for General manager Stan Bowman. The problem for Chicago is whether or not they’re good enough this year. With Fleury in the final season of a contract that carries a cap hit of $7 million, he may not stick around past this year. At that point, Kane will be a year older and the Blackhawks may be looking again at wholesale changes.
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