Report: Fleury accepted Penguins request to waive no-movement clause

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One of the lasting images of Marc-Andre Fleury in a Penguins uniform may be him passing the Stanley Cup to Matt Murray during Sunday’s celebration in Nashville.

Fleury’s future with the Penguins has been up for discussion for well over a year now, although general manager Jim Rutherford decided leading up to this year’s trade deadline to keep the veteran goalie in Pittsburgh for the playoff run.

It turned out to be a shrewd move.

Fleury backstopped the Penguins through the opening two rounds of the playoffs, before Murray returned from injury and eventually regained the starting duties in the Eastern Conference Final.

However, teams can only protect one goalie in the expansion draft. And despite a no-movement clause in his contract, Fleury’s time in Pittsburgh may be coming to an end.

Per Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, Fleury had accepted a request all the way back in February to waive his no-movement clause for the expansion draft later this month — but only for Las Vegas.

With Vegas needing a capable starting goalie, Fleury has been discussed as a potential option for that role with the Golden Knights. There are also other teams out there in need of goaltending. Teams like the Flames and perhaps even the Flyers, and Fleury may provide an option for them, as well.

Now 32 years old, Fleury posted a 18-10-7 record this past season. He also had a save percentage of .909, which is slightly below his career average. But he was, for the most part, solid for the Penguins in the playoffs with Murray sidelined.

He had nine of Pittsburgh’s 16 wins and a .924 save percentage before Mike Sullivan decided to go back to the younger Murray versus Ottawa. Despite becoming the No. 2 goalie again, Fleury was the “best team player in all of sports,” said Rutherford last night.

Fleury has two more years remaining on his contract, which has an annual cap hit of $5.75 million.

Pens GM Rutherford calls Fleury ‘the best team player in all of sports’

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Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final may have been Marc-Andre Fleury‘s last game as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that doesn’t mean the organization doesn’t appreciate the work he put in this season.

If GM Jim Rutherford does move on from Fleury this summer, it will strictly be a business decision. The Pens have a number of players they need to re-sign, including blue liner Justin Schultz, so getting Fleury’s salary off the books will be important.

The fact that there’s an expansion draft doesn’t help his chances of sticking around.

After winning the Stanley Cup on Sunday night, Rutherford made sure to mention just how vital the 32-year-old was during Pittsburgh’s run.

“Fleury is probably the best team player in all of sports,” said Rutherford.

“He carried us at different times of the season, carried us through two rounds of the playoffs, turned it over to Murray. I talked at the start of the season about keeping two goalies and these guys did exactly what I hoped they’d do. They got us the cup.”

To his credit, Fleury never openly complained about losing the starting job to Matt Murray last year or this year. He could have easily become a distraction in the locker room, but he chose to handle the situation with class.

Since joining the Penguins in 2005-06, Fleury has started 707 games (384-220-70) and he’s been part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams.

Fleury trying not to think about if this is his last run with Penguins

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PITTSBURGH — With Matt Murray reclaiming his starting spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ net, the topic of Marc-Andre Fleury‘s future with the team was again a talking point during Sunday’s Stanley Cup Final media day.

Specifically, whether or not this series against the Nashville Predators will be his final games with the only NHL team he has ever known.

Given the expansion draft situation this summer, as well as the fact Murray has clearly passed him in the eyes of the coaching staff, it seems even more inevitable than ever that his time with the team is limited.

On Sunday, he was asked if he ever lets his mind go there and think about it.

“I try not to,” said Fleury. “I try to live, day-by-day, go like that. We will see what happens at the end of the season.”

For Fleury, the circumstances for his status as Murray’s backup are vastly different from a year ago when he started the playoffs on the bench due to injury and, outside of one Game in the Eastern Conference Finals, never really had an opportunity to contribute to the team’s playoff run.

That has not been the case this year.

Fleury has not only been a major contributor, he is probably the single biggest reason they escaped the first two rounds against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals.

He was also asked if it would be easier to potentially leave Pittsburgh after this season having been able to contribute to a deep playoff run after not really getting a chance to play a year ago.

“Yeah, those are memories I will always keep,” said Fleury. “The support from the fans, the atmosphere in the building, the fun I had winning those games. But still another championship would be even better.”

His play through the first two rounds is what made Mike Sullivan’s decision to go back to Murray such a bold — and even controversial — move.

Fleury was not only playing extremely well, he was playing what was perhaps the best hockey of his career. Given that performance, along with the fact Murray had not played in more than a month due to injury, it was a move that most coaches probably would not have made.

“The decision that was made in goal was a very difficult decision,” said Sullivan on Sunday.  “Our coaches discussed it at length. That was a very difficult decision because we have so much respect for both players. Both of these goaltenders that we have are Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders. I’ve said all year long that we believe that we have two No. 1 goalies. That’s a unique challenge to our team, because most teams don’t have that.”

He continued: “Part of my responsibility is to try to decide which guy on a particular game is going to give this team the best chance to win. There are a lot of factors that go into it. Quite honestly, I like to keep those decisions within the confines of our hockey team. But there are a lot of factors that go into it.”

Fleury was asked on Sunday what the change was like but declined to go into much detail, instead focussing on how much he has enjoyed this postseason.

“I don’t think I want to get into it really,” said Fleury. “I was having a lot of fun winning some games. It’s a coaches decision and I have to respect it.”

“Not being in net I just try to encourage the guys, cheer the guys on and if I ever get another opportunity I will be ready.”

Murray over Fleury? It’s sure looking that way (Update: It’s official)

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Matt Murray was the first goalie off the ice at Pittsburgh’s optional skate ahead of tonight’s Game 4 versus Ottawa.

While that doesn’t make anything official, it does set the stage for a dramatic change in net.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started every game for the Pens this postseason, stayed on the ice longer this morning, working out for close to an hour — usually indicative of the extra work a backup traditionally takes before a game.

Update: Pens head coach Mike Sullivan has officially announced that Murray will start, and Fleury will back up. Sullivan said Fleury handled the decision “like the professional that he always is.”

This marks the second consecutive postseason in which Sullivan’s made a bold goalie switch in the conference final.

Last year, in the fifth game against Tampa Bay, Sullivan went to Fleury as his starter after Murray struggled in Game 4. The move didn’t exactly pay off, as Fleury looked somewhat shaky in a 4-3 OT loss, and finished with just 21 saves on 25 shots (.840 save percentage).

In Game 6, the Pens went back to Murray, and he was excellent for the remainder of the series. The Bolts only beat him three times on 47 shots over the final two games, and Murray carried that stellar play over to the Stanley Cup Final, where he posted a .920 save percentage over six games.

Some opined that Sullivan was fortunate his flip-flopping didn’t cost the team.

Milbury, Jones would start Murray over Fleury for Penguins in Game 4

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Mike Sullivan hasn’t tipped his hand yet regarding whether Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray will be the Pittsburgh Penguins’ starter against the Ottawa Senators for Game 4.

Strategically, it would make sense for him to play coy even if he knows.

If he really doesn’t, that would be understandable, too. Murray missed a huge chunk of playoff time because of an injury, and during that span, Fleury’s been mostly outstanding.

Mike Milbury has advice for Sullivan: don’t be sentimental. The Penguins might need a boost, and Murray seems more likely to provide that edge; both Milbury and Keith Jones agree that Murray is the best choice for Game 4.

That contest will air at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN on Friday. You can also watch it online and via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.