Marc-Andre Fleury loves Vegas, and Vegas loves Marc-Andre Fleury. Now they can love each other for at least three more years.
The veteran goaltender signed a three-year extension with the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. That extension carries a value of $21 million — bringing an average annual value and cap hit of $7 million — and will kick in after next season, keeping Fleury under contract through 2022.
The 33-year-old Fleury was selected by the Golden Knights in last summer’s expansion draft and is coming off a career year in Vegas. During the Knights’ inaugural season, Fleury posted a .927 save-percentage and 2.24 goals against average (both career-highs) and finished fifth in Vezina voting. He was also exceptional during Vegas’ improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final, posting a save-percentage of .927 and four shutouts in 20 postseason games.
After being selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins first overall in 2003, Fleury spent 13 years in Pittsburgh and won three Stanley Cups with the Pens, though the final two were clinched with Fleury serving as the team’s backup goaltender. After losing the Penguins’ starting job to Matt Murray, Fleury was exposed in the expansion draft and headed to Vegas for a fresh start.
That fresh start has clearly worked out for Fleury, who delivered one of the best comeback stories in the NHL last season and, now, has reaped the rewards of that incredible turnaround year.
But even with that outstanding bounce-back campaign, this seems like a questionable commitment from the Golden Knights’ side. Sure, Fleury was one of (if not the) primary reason for their shocking success in the franchise’s first-ever season, and he’s become a local hero in Vegas, but the Knights are taking a major risk by banking on that level of success continuing.
When Fleury’s three-year extension kicks in, he’ll be 35 years old and (projects to be) the third-highest-paid goalie in the league. That’s putting a lot of faith in an aging goalie with a career save-percentage of .913.