Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been through quite the whirlwind as of late, and most of it happened in just 71 days.
On April 12 when Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray went down with a lower-body injury before the team’s first game of the playoffs, it was Fleury who took the net for the Pens. He led the Penguins to victories in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well as a Game 2 win in the Eastern Conference Finals, before being replaced by Murray in Game 3. He then watched from the bench as his team won its second consecutive Cup. Then, of course, he became the face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise when he was selected in the June 21 Expansion Draft.
As I said. Whirlwind.
Now, envision a world where none of that happened.
As reported by Sportsnet's Eric Francis, such a world was not outside the realm of possibility as Fleury admitted he was prepared to waive his no-trade clause had Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford managed to come to an agreement with the Calgary Flames.
Ultimately a deal was never presented to Fleury as the Flames opted to stick with Brian Elliott. Elliott, who finished the year with a .910 save percentage, completely collapsed in the playoffs, posting an .880 SV% and a 3.89 goals against average.
By the time Calgary realized the error of their ways it was too late. Fleury was already earmarked to come to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft, which left the Flames to look elsewhere for goaltending help.
The Flames would end up trading for Eddie Lack and Mike Smith from Carolina and Arizona, respectively, but things could have gone in a much different direction had they made a deal for Fleury.
So, it appears as though somewhere there exists a universe where Fleury is a Calgary Flame and not a Golden Knight. A dark world I’m glad to say we do not live in. We owe Flames GM Brad Treliving a gift basket.