CHICAGO – On just a one-year deal and with the Blackhawks starting a rebuild, it was expected that the team’s top goaltender would be dealt at the trade deadline.
On Monday morning, just hours before that deadline, the Blackhawks have indeed dealt Marc-Andre Fleury.
The goaltender goes to the Wild in exchange for a conditional first round pick, one that will be the Blackhawks if Minnesota reaches the Western Conference Finals and Fleury gets at least four victories in the first two rounds. If they don’t, the Blackhawks get a second round pick.
General manager Kyle Davidson, who declared a rebuild when he was hired for the full time position, has so far made two major trades to start that process. On Friday, he dealt forward Brandon Hagel along with a 2022 & 2024 fourth round pick to the Lightning for forwards Taylor Raddysh & Boris Katchouk along with a pair of first round picks (2023, 2024).
“This trade immediately puts us in a better position at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, giving us a pick that will land early in the draft,” said Davidson in a statement through the team. “We are in a better position today at the upcoming Draft than we were yesterday. In a short time with the Blackhawks, Marc-Andre made quite an impression on our fanbase and in our locker room.
“We appreciate his willingness to work with us on finding a deal that worked for everyone. The Blackhawks wish him and his family the best in Minnesota.”
Acquired in a trade with the Golden Knights this summer, Fleury would only spend a matter of months on the ice for the Blackhawks. He played in 45 games, going 19-21-5 with a 2.95 goals-against average on a team that was never really in playoff contention.
The veteran was lauded by teammates for his leadership and effort during his short time with the teams, as defenseman Seth Jones had high praise for Fleury after his performance against the Bruins last week.
Fleury took the ice for the Blackhawks on Sunday against the Jets at the United Center, allowing five goals on 36 shots in a 6-4 loss to Winnipeg.