The Pittsburgh Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury are as synonymous with each other as any player ever has been with his former employer. With the 37-year-old Vezina Trophy winning goalie ays away from hitting the open market, the Penguins have surfaced as one of his potential destinations.
Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman linked the two on the latest 32 Thoughts Podcast, stating that the goalie has multiple options, including the Penguins. Friedman also named Fleury's current team, the Minnesota Wild, as having an interest in retaining Fleury. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche are also reportedly in the running.
Acquiring Fleury would give the Penguins one of the best goaltending duos in the league, along with presumptive starter Tristan Jarry. Jarry is heading into the final year of his contract and has struggled with the workload the last two seasons.
Issues with Casey DeSmith's performance forced Jarry to play in 58 games last season while still missing the final two weeks of the season with a broken foot. Implementing Fleury would allow Jarry to be deployed as a 1-A goaltender and help keep him healthy and rested next season.
The one snag in this plan could be money. The Penguins are currently focused on discussions with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang on new contracts and still have multiple other roster spots to fill for next season. With Fleury being one of only a handful of starting caliber goalies on the market, he would have to take a substantial discount to return to Pittsburgh.
The Penguins have also expressed interest in re-signing backup Casey DeSmith this summer, bringing a wrinkle into this situation. Would the Penguins use DeSmith as a third-string goalie, and how would DeSmith react to being demoted after spending the past three seasons as the team's number two? Only time will tell how the Penguins answer their backup goalie question, but a reunion will Marc-Andre Fleury seems to be in the cards.
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