Vegas Golden Knights Commit First Incompetent Move as a Franchise


 

Lets call a spade a spade here, the Vegas Golden Knights have been a model franchise since their inception in 2017. I know it's only been four years since they've been in the league, but how many other expansion teams in professional sports can say they were conference champions in their inaugural season?


Well, today's trade might be the first gigantic blemish on the face of the Vegas Golden Knights organization. It was announced in the early hours of the morning of July 27th, that the Golden Knights were in preliminary talks with the Chicago Blackhawks regarding a trade for reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Marc-Andre Fleury. What was Vegas' return, you ask? Hang onto your hats here - The Vegas Golden Knights received... AHL prospect Mikael Hakkarainen, and that's it. The only silver lining for Vegas in this trade is that they retained none of Fleury's salary, meaning that they freed up $7 million in cap space.


After acquiring a top defenseman in Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets last week, and now trading for Fleury, it appears as if Chicago is trying to navigate around what seemed to be an inevitable rebuild, in order to stay competitive in 2022.

 

It's no secret that the relationship between Fleury and the Golden Knights has been more than strained over the last two seasons. During the 2019-20 NHL season, it was announced that Fleury would be benched for Vegas' newest goalie acquisition from Chicago, Robin Lehner. Marc-Andre Fleury's agent would later Tweet out this illustration, calling out Vegas' head coach, Peter DeBoer:


 

Fleury would very quickly win his starting position back, as he would go on to be the 2020-21 Vezina Trophy winner. The best goalie in the NHL this season, was traded for a bag of pucks. Since the trade was announced, it was reported that 36 year-old three-time Stanley Cup Champion might consider retirement, and that he'd be consulting with his family at this time before committing to playing in the 2021-22 season, which might pose an internal problem between Vegas and Chicago as to the validity of the trade. Remember, New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, stopped a trade to the Detroit Lions in 2018 by "retiring."

 

One thing is for sure, it is very likely that we may not have seen the end of this saga between Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights. Whether MAF retires or not, shame on the Golden Knights for treating one of the greatest goalies of our generation and a future Hall of Famer like a consolation prize. The hockey world is in shock, disbelief, and are a little bit angered by perhaps the biggest news that might be broken this offseason.

 

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-Chris

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