Penguins GM Jim Rutherford dismissed the idea of trading Fleury, and said he wants to see how things play out this season with Fleury and Matt Murray.
The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signing goaltender Matt Murray to a three-year, $11.25-million contract stoked speculation veteran Marc-Andre Fleury could hit the trade block later this season. But according to GM Jim Rutherford, that’s not a certainty.
Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Rutherford dismissed that notion, cautioning against the presumption the 31-year-old Fleury is on his way out. The Pens GM wants to see how things play out with his goalie tandem this season.
Creating further uncertainty over Fleury’s future is next June’s expansion draft. The Penguins can only protect one goaltender. Fleury has a no-movement clause, as well as a modified no-trade listing 18 preferred destinations.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun lists several options facing Rutherford. He can trade Fleury to one of the teams on his list before the March 1 trade deadline or before the expansion draft, ask Fleury to waive his no-movement to be exposed in the expansion draft, buy him out before the draft thus making him a free agent, or cut a side deal with the Las Vegas franchise not to select Murray if he’s left exposed.
Rutherford is under no pressure to move Fleury now. Depending upon his roster needs and where the Penguins are in the standings by the trade deadline, he could keep his goalie tandem intact in hopes of staging another run at a Stanley Cup title next spring.
DUCKS MAKING ROOM FOR LINDOLM DEAL?
Over the weekend, the Anaheim Ducks placed concussed defenseman Simon Despres ($3.75-million cap hit) on long-term injured reserve. Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie saying the move provides the Ducks with some salary-cap flexibility.
Stephens suggests this could be the first move by the Ducks to free up cap room to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm. He believes the 22-year-old’s new contract could be worth between $5-$6 million annually. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the two sides are thought to be about $250,000 per season apart.
Placing Despres, and perhaps sidelined forward Nate Thompson (ruptured Achilles tendon, $1.6 million), on LTIR could free up a combined $5.3 million, giving the Ducks more room to ink Lindholm. However, once Despres and Thompson are ready to return to action, the Ducks must make room for them.
Prior to Despres being placed on LTIR, there was talk defenseman Cam Fowler ($4 million AAV) could be moved in a salary-dumping trade. The 24-year-old recently told Stephens he’s not paying attention to the trade chatter and remains focused on his play.
If the Ducks are forced to trade Fowler to make room for Lindholm, they won’t lack for suitors. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports the Detroit Red Wings brass recently scouted Fowler. The Ducks asking price, however, was said to include young right winger Anthony Mantha. Elliott points out the Wings are also reluctant to move promising players such as right winger Evgeny Svechnikov.
Garrioch, meanwhile, lists the Wings, Bruins and Buffalo Sabres among the teams with interest in Fowler. However, CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty doubts the Bruins can land him. Given the Ducks playoff hopes this season, he speculates they could be unwilling to move Fowler.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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