The face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise would like to spend the rest of his career with the team.
It’s tough to blame the 33-year-old, who became Vegas’ showpiece the moment he was taken by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft last year.
Vegas flaunted the former No. 1 pick and he reciprocated, putting up the best statistical season of his career with a .927 save percentage and a 2.24 goals-against average, despite being limited to 46 games because of injury.
“It’s weird, a year ago I was told I was getting too old to play,” Fleury told members of the media on Friday, just hours after the Golden Knights dropped Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final and watched Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals hoist Lord Stanley’s mug. “I still love it. I still have a lot of fun. Certainly, Vegas has given me this opportunity to do what I love, and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else, and hopefully I can finish my career here.”
Fleury was the talk of the NHL through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
He flirted with history after posting a .947 save percentage as the Golden Knights needed just 15 games to reach the Cup Final, only to see a dip in his play.
Fleury went from looking unbeatable to struggling to find his form in quick succession, never finding the same magic in the Cup Final.
In the five games Washington needed to win the Cup, Fleury’s save percentage never touched 90 percent, dipping sharply to a .853 average.
He ran out of steam, along with the rest of his team.
“It was a crazy year,” Fleury said. “From our team’s success to the support from the fans, the best place to play in the league. There were so many questions going into the year about putting a hockey team in Vegas. I think the expectation was very much exceeded. It was a lot of fun.”
Fleury will be eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.
Given how difficult it can be to find good goaltending in the NHL, one would have to imagine that the Golden Knights would like to lock Fleury up. He’s not getting any younger, but he certainly looks revitalized with the reins to Vegas’ crease firmly in his grip.
He displayed his skill on the ice and was a model of calmness in the dressing room during Vegas’ playoff run. A good goalie and a man that can lead the charge?
Seems like a no-brainer.