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The Forgotten Reason a Devils Trade is a Tough Sell for Marc-Andre Fleury

The former Penguins goaltender may not want to play so close to his former home.

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New Jersey Devils trade

A New Jersey Devils trade for Marc-Andre Fleury is a tough sell for the 39-year-old goaltender.

For starters, Minnesota Wild general manager, Bill Guerin, already stated he’s not giving up on his team just yet. However, Guerin did acknowledge he’d be willing to listen to offers for Fleury if the Wild fell out of favor. They currently sit seven points out of the Western Conference wild card with 33 games left to play.

Guerin isn’t waving the white flag yet.

However, there’s another reason from recent history that would make this deal a tough sell for Fleury. Perhaps you may have forgotten, but Fleury blocked a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Washington Capitals in the 2021-22 season.

Ironically, the Capitals owned Vitek Vanecek at the time, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov, and the Caps were looking for an upgrade. Also ironic, those two goaltenders have been among the worst netminders in the NHL this season, although their recent play has been a bit more encouraging.

Regardless, Fleury blocked a trade to a then-playoff team while playing for the Blackhawks who very clearly weren’t going to make the playoffs.

Why?

Well, Fleury confirmed he blocked a trade to the Capitals because he didn’t want to face the club that drafted him, developed him, and won three Stanley Cups with in a potential playoff matchup — the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Fleury revealed in an interview with the NHL on TNT that he wasn’t comfortable accepting a trade to a team he had such a rivalry with while in Pittsburgh.

“It just didn’t seem right,” admitted Fleury to NHL on TNT.

Now, the Devils’ rivalry with the Penguins is not at the same magnitude as the Capitals and Penguins. That heat is very clearly between New Jersey and the New York Rangers. However, the Devils are still an in-division rival who play the Penguins twice more in the regular season. Further, and more likely the bigger weight on Fleury’s mind, is the possibility of Fleury running into the Penguins in the postseason if he comes back East, especially in the Metropolitan.

Finally, Fleury’s full no-move clause is potentially the biggest hurdle. If the Wild are going to move Fleury, the likelihood of him waiving his no-move clause for a non-Stanley Cup-contending team is slim. At this point, despite the plethora of injuries, Fleury surely isn’t convinced the Devils are built to make it to the final. However, perhaps if health persists following the All-Star break, the Devils can put themselves back into that conversation.

Fleury does have familiarity with Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald from his time in Pittsburgh, after all. Regardless, a lot of stars need to align for the Devils to upgrade their crease presence with Fleury, which makes it a tough sell for the goaltender with the second-most wins in NHL history.

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