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Trading Fleury at this Point Would be Extremely Stupid – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Trading Fleury at this Point Would be Extremely Stupid

The Penguins have a rare opportunity in the age of the salary cap, they can bring back every player that played a main role in their winning of the Stanley Cup, even Reverend Lovejoy.  All of the talk is about Fleury and his salary cap value.

The NHL is expected to raise the salary cap 3 million.  The best GMs are the ones that plan for the future and yes there is an expansion draft next summer and yes the Penguins probably can only protect one goaltender, but who cares.  The Penguins can win another Stanley Cup before then.

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Last year, the Penguins traded for defenseman Justin Schultz from Edmonton and many of us were left scratching our heads as to why the Penguins needed another defenseman.  I’m sure everyone remembers when Daley went out in the playoffs and the Penguins were able to replace him with Schultz.

Perhaps you remember our main goaltender Marc-André Fleury being out for a good while with a concussion.  Do you remember as well Murray being out at the exact same time with a concussion?  If you question the value of two top quality goaltenders, ask Tampa Bay if they think they would have won that close series with their #1 goalie in net.  Would you want to lose this Stanley Cup contending team’s chances of defending of the Cup to a torn ACL?

Having a great backup at that position isn’t even the main reason to keep Fleury.  All of the Penguins goaltending talk should be revolving around the new regulations the NHL is expected to impose on goaltenders before the start of next year and the effect it could have on the current goaltenders in the NHL and on the Penguins’ roster.

I like many others have wondered why an NHL team doesn’t just hire a 600-lb. player and plop him in front of the net.  This summer the NHL is expected to impose leg-pad size, padding size, chest-protecter size and other restrictions on goaltenders.  Athletic goaltenders could become the hot commodity in the NHL.  Goaltenders that are big and just stand there could become a thing of the past.

That is just two reasons to keep Fleury.  There are a ridiculous amount of other reasons.

Like the fact that the Penguins would be risking in my estimation the five prime years they have left with these star players to win a cup on a goaltender that has played 34 games in the NHL.  The true reason for Matt Murray’s greatness in the playoffs was the players who jumped in front of pucks all playoffs.  As Murray even said himself, he counted at least four times in one game players jumped face first into shots.  If you think that the Penguins players are going to lay in front of shots all season like they did in the playoffs, you are sadly mistaken.

How bad would it be if the rookie goalie would spend a season working along side a guy who at 31 years of age is the #19 all-time winningest goaltender in the NHL?

I’m just going to keep rolling with these reasons if it is ok with all of you…

Let’s say Murray is working out pretty well and half way through the season and we lose a star player to a long-term injury.  Having a Fleury to trade to get the exact position player we need would be a huge bonus.  According to internet rumors, several teams have already inquired about Fleury, why not get what we need when we need it.

Now for that expansion draft everyone is worried about, the NHL is working on a new possible expansion idea where protecting players is one part, but teams may have to put up a percentage of salary.  It has came up that players that constitute up to 20% of a team’s salary might have to be made available in the draft.  Having Fleury’s salary to make available for this might really help the team out.

I’ve heard too much talk over the last five years about trading Crosby, Malkin and other Penguins star players.  I ask the people who wrote, commented or even just suggested those in conversation how ridiculous those ideas are now?

Let’s enjoy the summer with the Stanley Cup while not trading away one of the best goaltenders in the league for draft picks and without risking the team to a rookie who has played 34 NHL games.  Being good/intelligent Pittsburgh Penguins fans and not selling out players is what makes quality players want to play here.  Ask Toronto how that is working out for them.

This team is the best team in the league! Let’s give them a chance to defend the Cup.

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24 Comments

  1. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    June 22, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Hey Phil, Rick, Jim,

    Couple of thoughts,

    I was talking with Rick the other day down the gym and mentioned that although I really didn’t want to start thinking about next season yet, I still wanted to kick back and enjoy, apparently time is marching on. To that end, I told him that I may be swinging over to his side of the argument about possibly trading Fleury, most especially if Fleury does wants out.

    I am not going to trash talk eitherof these two goalies, the kid in me would still prefer to see MAF retire a Pen and everything I have seen so far from Murray tells me he is the real deal, maybe not Dryden or Roy real deal but the real enough to be a star in his own right.

    However, If the Pens don’t dish him now (or aren’t in negotiations) I may flip back to the other side of the argument. Anaheim dealt Anderson to Toronto and there is talk of TB looking deal Bishop (and he just might be the G that even teams with a good starting G may want to trade for). So, the longer the Pens wait to deal, the smaller the market will get for trading him, and the lower the return. Since I do think MAF is more than a quality G I would want the Pens to get maximum in return for giving him up.

    So, what would I consider maximum return? Well, with the looming expansion, I am thinking draft picks, a potential back up (as I have mention somewhere before, although I think JZ more than a capable back up for MAF, I would certainly want a little better of a back up right now for MM. Yes Jim, I agree that TJ certainly has the pedigree to form a great tandem down the line, but I would like to see him over a longer stretch in WBS before pinning that label on him. Murray was the work horse for the baby Pens a couple of years back as well as the start of this season, before being called up. Jarry really didn’t see that much action yet down there. So I would like to see him get a little more seasoning.

    What I would do then is use the money between the slight Cap increase and moving MAF to make sure I resign Schultz, try and resign Lovejoy to a resonable contract, and go after Mikkel Boedker. He is making $3.75. I wouldn’t over-pay for him, but since he really hasn’t put up huge numbers, the Pens might be able to sign him for a little less than some other teams would since the Pens should be considered in the top 3 or 4 as contenders next season and all indications are that Sullivan is a great coach to play for.

    He is also a speed merchant which would definitely match Sullivan’s style of play and he is a LW. The Pens are pretty deep on RW, but not so much on the left side. With Kunitz getting up there in age, Boedker may provide a bump they need.

    Sheary certainly earned a spot for next year, maybe even with a lot of shifts on Crosby’s line, and Rust who can play either wing also has earned quality ice time next season, but may be needed for some RW duty with Sprong being out until sometime in Jan or Feb. (No Bennett is not even a stop-gap measure on RW. He does not suit Sullivans style of hockey even if he could stay healthy for more than half a season). And although Wilson was the first of the kids to start finding the range during the regular season last year, he didn’t play all that long before being hurt. So there could be a spot that Boedker could fill.

    Of course if the Pens can’t sign Lovejoy to a reasonable contract then they may need to look for a D man and I haven’t really as of yet look to see who may be available. Even if the Pens do sign Lovejoy, there may be a need here too, they are a little undersized and take a lot of punishment, so 8 or 9 D-men may be required to get through the season.

    Other thoughts I have had;

    Try and get a contract extension on Bonino, a three headed hydra showed more benefit this play-off run than did the two-headed monster of the last couple of seasons.

    And make an offer to Cullen. Although going out on top certainly has its appeal, Cullen showed he still had the legs last year for at least 4th line duty and he does provide the type of leadership young kids like Sheary, Kunhackl, Rust, Wilson, and eventually Sprong all could benefit from.

    So if you have to trade Fleury, that is where my current thinking leads me.

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      June 22, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Hey Coach,
      Good thoughts as always. I must admit that you are not the only one who is reconsidering his position on MAF. An article in the Calgary paper yesterday indicated that the Flames will not pay JR’s asking price of the 6 th pick in the upcoming draft for MAF. Apparently they offered a 35 th pick and a role player or an another second pick in 2017 in lieu of the player. So Calgary is now talking to Tampa Bay about Brent Bishop.Tampa has real issues too !
      Is two second picks enough for MAF ? I do not think so in my opinion.
      So if you do not get a decent return for MAF, I would indeed keep him to start the 2016 season and pray for an injury to another teams Goalie and try to get a better return then. Yes there is a certain amount of risk in this strategy, but unless they package Beau Bennett, a couple of others in with MAF, nobody will give up a first round pick ?
      So we both may be changing our positions on this matter.
      Great discussion.Many moving parts indeed.
      Cheers,

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    June 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey Phil and Rick
    Mario last night was awarded The Order of Hockey in Canada in Halifax. It would almost rival the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame in prestige because it allows for all contributors to the game of Hockey in Canada to qualify.Not just NHL participants. To be more specific it is an elite association of the best that Canada has to offer in the game of hockey. To call it honor does not due it justice. So I say to Mario congratulations on a well deserved acolade.
    David Branch who is the President of the CHL which oversees all 3 Major Junior Hockey in Canada was also a receipent last night.He has over 40 years in Hockey.
    So for Mario it was his entire career as a player and an owner and an ambassador to the game that won him this incredible honor.
    To the fans of Pittsburgh thank you for giving
    Mario the opportunity to become the man he is to day.Without you thus would never have happened.
    Cheers.

  3. The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
    June 18, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil,

    Great, Well timed article!

    A pet peeve of mine right now is the number of people I have had the displeasure of listening too, or reading comments from, who bum-rap either MAF or Murray. As you state, give it a rest and enjoy being the reigning champs rather than whining and crying over having two starting goalies on one roster.

    Although I am one of many people out there who sees something of Ken Dryden in Murray, let’s face it MAF has consistently been the teams MVP over the past several seasons and as I wrote somewhere very recently, Murray doesn’t get the chance to shine if not for the herculean effort of MAF to keep the team competitive until Sullivan took over the reins. MAF has one of the most lethal poke checks in the game as a goalie and is very athletic. Most importantly, the salary cap hit you mention, that so many people are worried about is really not that bad. MAF is extremely under-paid for what he brings to the team. His salary was rather middle of the road for starting goalies back when he signed it.

    As for Murray, the Pens didn’t win the Cup despite Murray as some people have bemoan of the 22 yr old and although he may not have been the main reason the team won the Cup, no one was. This Cup victory was so, so special because it truly was a team effort. A solid argument could be made for 4 or 5 players as the Conn Smythe winner, including Murray. Murray did let in a couple of goals that half empty glass people could argue were soft but he made some unreal saves as well and only lost one game that he had the lead in. Furthermore, although the team blocked a lot of shots in front of him, Murray finished the play-offs with the third best save% among goalies that played more than a whistle stop. Only Vezina candidates Bishop and Holtby had better. In the final game he stoned at least 2-Sharks that I saw slip in behind the “D” and with time to line up their shots.

    As I said, I agree 100%, lets at least start the 2016-2017 season with both of these guys manning the pipes. The Habs even started Dryden’s second season with All Star Rogie Vachon as their insurance policy. Let’s start our title defense as strong as possible, with Fleury and Murray no worry!

    Finally, I really didn’t start thinking about it until yesterday, but your final argument that if all things remain equal and the organization does feel a need to stream line the goalie position a little, it may be more advantageous to have MAF at the time of the expansion draft. If by next summer MAF does become a luxury that the team could no longer afford, he would be a major plum for Las Vegas to pick. As I mentioned earlier, he is one of the best goalies in the league on the cheap so an expansion club could get really competitive over night. They could get a great goalie and still have a lot of cap space to grab another quality skater. Thereby allowing the Pens to keep players at other positions that really aren’t as deep.

    MAF has meant a lot to this team for so long and the kid in me would love to see him retire black-n-gold but the reality of modern hockey may prevent it. He may want to move on to where he can play ~60 games, he is still in his prime, or someone may offer the bank for him, or he may end up a Las Vegas’s pick but for today and this summer I would rather enjoy our Pens being Stanley Cup Champs, rather than bemoan having two quality starting goalies.

  4. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    June 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi Phil
    Very interesting points u raise about MAF.
    In a perfect world I would want to keep him on our team for 1 more year as well, but from where I sit I remember last year when because we had no cap space we were forced to play the last 2 weeks of the season with 5 d men and we almost never made it to the playoffs.
    We could have that situation again in 2017.
    The problem is that due to the lower TV ratings in US and especially in Canada for the playoffs and the weaker Canadian dollar the new cap was reported this week to be LESS than this year. 69.5 million down from 70.4 this year.The latest media report says that NHL players association will vote next week to trigger the 5% esculation clause so the NEW CAP will be 72.8 million. That is the problem.
    With Maatta’s new 3.3 million dollar salary increase starting in September we will have CAP issues.
    Plus we have no room to handle injuries in the future. So this is why I say u trade MAF now when his value is the highest and before June 24th Entry draft so we can get a top 6 Draft pick and a player in return for MAF. Plus the needed cap space.
    Now we know how Chicago fans felt when their GM had to make tough choices after they won a Cup. So Phil I agree from my heart that u are right but my head says otherwise.
    Hockey is one tough business.
    Gr8 article. It certainly sparks passion among the group.

    • The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
      June 18, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jim,

      I haven’t had the time to stay on top of Cap discussions, however, I was under the same impression as you, the Cap was going to be a little lower this year. However, as I mentioned above, MAF is severely underpaid so that MAF and MMs salaries are rather low for what they give and getting a solid back up to replace MAF would really minimize any Cap savings trading MAF would give.

      I am sorry, but although I don’t think JZ was a bad back up for a workhorse like MAF, with MM still being really young, I would not feel that comfortable without a veteran backing him up.

      Having said that, I wouldn’t ignore any teams discussions at the draft table or elsewhere. Especially when the Pens aren’t really being forced to deal and can dictate terms a little better.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        June 18, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Hey Coach,
        I fully understand where you,Phil and the others are coming from. Even in 2009,when we won the Cup,MAF was celebrated as the Hero, but my local hockey friends remind me that a guy named Ty Conklin was the real hero because he won the previous series to get us into the Finals. Not MAF. In the excitement of winning, often little important things get over looked.
        The one thing that sticks in my mind about 2016, is why did not Coach Sullivan play MAF more than he did ? MAF could have played earlier than he did. Tampa Bay series for sure. Washington?.. To me this question is very important.. MAF is not stupid. He knows that he is no longer the number one Goalie in Pittsburgh. With the Team being worth a lot more today than it was 2 weeks ago, Mario and Ron are not going to question Coach Sullivan. He is the real hero of 2016 and if he wants MAF, he will be there in September,but if he feels there is a better option, MAF will be gone. Plus as mentioned by Pen’s 4Ever, Tristan Jarry is projected to be a real good goalie as well. Some say better than Murray !
        Murray/Jarry…Future looks bright !!! Let the kids play.
        Great discussion, great article, that is why this site is special !!
        Cheers,

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          June 18, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          Just looked at some stuff on the expansion and trades. I knew that the the league was requiring teams to use their protections on players with no trade clauses. Well, that blows my theory on making MAF available to the draft, he has a limited no trade clause, ergo, no we have to protect him. According to the web site that I just looked at. Ostensibly MAF can refuse to be traded to 12 teams and those 12 teams rotate yearly. I guess based on how good the teams were, but I don’t know.

          So, I may have to change my stance, but not right now. I prefer to still kick back and enjoy, unless some serious rumors surface with specific names.

          • Jim's Gravatar Jim
            June 18, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Hey Coach
            Good point my friend.
            I may be wrong but something tells me this time next Saturday when the draft is over,our team will have a different look to it.
            Remember when Chicago had to trade Brandon Saad for the same reasons?
            Rick, Pens 4 ever and I seem to be in the minority but please understand if MAF is not traded I am sure all of us will still be very happy to be Pens fans forever.
            Let us not forget that Mario still wants to sell the team and now the Team has won it all it is much easier for him to do it. He commented last November in the press that if the Pen’s failed to make the playoffs that the team would lose money.
            I am sure MAF knows that as well.So if Mario is not around and they have new owners maybe that also affects his decision.
            We will know in a week for sure.
            Great discussion.
            Thanks Phil.

  5. Adam's Gravatar Adam
    June 18, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you! I have been waiting for someone with some sense or knowledge of the game to write about this. These hack writers for the papers and news dont have a clue. Murray did not win the cup for the pens more vice versa. He was figured out in the tampa series and was never able to consistently adjust. Too much risk losing fleury.

    All the local news cares about is drama and if somehow the pens winning will be good luck for the steelers… just watch the parade coverage they all had to interview Tomlin. (Maybe the steelers take a note, furing a coach sometimes helps)

  6. Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
    June 17, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I like all of your points about MAF, but I would trade him now/at the draft.

    I read the cap will be between 72-73 million, that’s why GM Jim needs to trade him and even Kunitz. We need to make room under the cap
    MAF will not play second fiddle to Murray all season even if games are 50/50 or 60/40. Just he body language and facial expressions he is not happy sitting on the bench during a run to the cup.
    As a back-up Rutherford could go with Zatkoff or there could be another free agent goalie, don’t forget Jarry will be knocking on the door in the next couple of seasons.

  7. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    June 17, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more, though it’s apparent Fleury doesn’t exactly look like he’s sold on sticking around. He didn’t allow himself to be part of the cup festivities in any great measure and seems as though he hasn’t smiled much in two months. I’m a bit disappointed by that. He seems to have allowed an unfortunate situation rob him of the joy of winning a second cup. From where I sit, he should know better.

    If they can convince him to stay that would be wonderful, but much discussion will be needed. He’s going to need to be persuaded and some sort of deal will have to be struck. He looks, to me, like a guy who’s already gone and I’m not sure how that can be overcome. I’d love to see him in a Pens sweater next year, but I’m not holding my breath.


            

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