Having shaken off a difficult opening month to this season, March-Andre Fleury has returned to the form that won him the Vezina Trophy last year. With the Chicago Blackhawks out of playoff contention, speculation persists over where the 37-year-old goaltender will end up playing by the March 21 trade deadline.
Back in November, there was talk linking him to the Edmonton Oilers but a lack of cap space combined with Fleury's $7-million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause makes that unlikely. Limited cap space is also an issue for the Colorado Avalanche while Tristan Jarry's bounce-back performance rules out a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In late January, the Washington Capitals were rumored to have an interest in Fleury. They now seem out of the running after Daily Faceoff reported they made a “full-court press” but it doesn't seem like it's going to happen.
Fleury remains an enticing option for contenders seeking help between the pipes. Finding a suitable fit, however, won't be easy.
The Oilers and Avalanche must get creative and find a third team with cap room willing to broker a deal for the right return. The Avs could go prefer that option to instead add a forward like Claude Giroux if they remain content with goalies Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz.
Vegas Golden Knights fans disappointed over Robin Lehner's play might dream of Fleury's return. However, they have enough issues figuring out how to free up cap space for Jack Eichel's eventual debut.
The Capitals might have to revisit their interest if a more suitable (affordable) alternative cannot be found. That could mean giving up more than they'd prefer. Nevertheless, their hopes for a deep playoff run could depend on it.