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Trade Coverage

NHL Trade Buzz: Penguins may move Marc-Andre Fleury

Pittsburgh goalie could waive limited no-trade clause, although GM wants to keep him

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are four days remaining until the 2017 NHL Trade Deadline (3 p.m. ET, March 1) and Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury says he is starting to come around on the idea he will be moving. Plus, the Vancouver Canucks begin preparations to sell off some assets as a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs appears more and more unlikely.

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

The future of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been in question ever since the NHL awarded an expansion franchise to the Vegas Golden Knights on June 22.

With rookie Matt Murray having firmly won the starting job since then and Fleury seeing very limited action, the trade deadline is becoming a potential departure date for Fleury, perhaps even more so than the NHL Expansion Draft from June 18-20.

Fleury has a limited no trade clause that allows him to list 12 teams he can't be traded to, as well as a no movement clause that would force the Penguins to protect him, and therefore expose Murray, in the expansion draft unless he agrees to waive it.

General manager Jim Rutherford has said he would rather keep Fleury as insurance for the playoffs but that he would meet with the veteran before the deadline to get a better feel for what Fleury is thinking.

Video: Jim Rutherford talks Stadium Series and trades

Fleury told LNH.com senior writer Robert Laflamme on Friday that he is coming to grips with the idea that he will probably have to move at some point for the first time in his NHL career.

"I'll see what he has to say and I'll see after that," Fleury said. "At first, it was tough to accept [that I might have to leave]. But the longer it goes, I've been telling myself I'm not the only one that has to go through this and whatever happens, happens.

"I'm more resigned to an eventual change than I was last summer or at the beginning of the season. But it's still tough to deal with."

Fleury, 32, pointed out that the goalie market at the deadline probably won't be very hot with most contending teams set at the position. In addition to that, his 3.06 goals-against average and .906 save percentage in 30 games this season might make teams think twice about paying a big price to acquire him. Fleury has two seasons left on his contract at $5.75 million per season, according to capfriendly.com.

However, there are some possibilities.

The Calgary Flames, who hold the first wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference entering play Saturday, probably would like an upgrade in goal with Brian Elliott struggling this season (14-13-3 record, 2.81 GAA, .896 save percentage). The same could be said of the St. Louis Blues, though Jake Allen has played much better of late with a 5-3-0 record, 1.88 GAA and .935 save percentage since Feb 2.

Fleury did not dismiss the possibility Friday that he would waive his no movement clause to possibly play for the Golden Knights next season, though he didn't commit to doing it either.

"I haven't started shopping for a house in Las Vegas yet," he said.

 

Vancouver Canucks

General manager Jim Benning asked goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Jannik Hansen for a list of teams they would accept a trade to, The Province reported Friday.

Benning said he has not yet asked anyone on the Canucks holding a full no trade clause to waive it, a list that includes impending unrestricted free agent forward Alexandre Burrows.

The Canucks enter their game Saturday at home against the San Jose Sharks (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, CSN-CA) nine points out of the second wild card in the Western Conference. They're also dealing with an outbreak of the mumps, making it more difficult to gain ground.

Hansen submitted a list of eight teams and Miller a list of five teams he would accept a trade to, as per the conditions of their respective modified no trade clauses.

Hansen said Friday there were six or seven playoff teams on the list, as well as one team that is currently out of the playoffs that he included for personal reasons, according to The Province.

"I think it was a fair list, at least from my perception," Hansen said.

Miller, 36, who can also become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, is believed to have submitted teams that would allow him to move closer to California, where he spends his offseason and his wife has an acting career. Much as with Fleury, the market to acquire Miller, who carries a $6 million salary-cap charge, may be limited.

Hansen, 30, would probably bring a better return for Benning, assuming he can work with the teams on Hansen's list, because he is under contract for one more season at a $2.5 million cap charge. Hansen has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 27 games this season, ranking fifth on the Canucks with 0.48 points per game, but was productive last season with 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists) in 67 games, has decent size (6-foot-1, 194 pounds) and can kill penalties.

If Benning were to ask Burrows to waive his no trade clause, the potential for stockpiling future assets before March 1 becomes very enticing.

The Canucks have no extra picks in the 2017, 2018 or 2019 NHL Drafts; as of now, they don't have a pick in the fifth and sixth rounds in 2017.

 

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers are looking for a No. 3 or No. 4 center who can win faceoffs, but impending unrestricted free agents Martin Hanzal of the Arizona Coyotes and Brian Boyle of the Tampa Bay Lightning might be too expensive, the Edmonton Journal reported Friday.

One look at the Oilers' 2-1 loss at the Washington Capitals on Friday shows why general manager Peter Chiarelli may be looking to fill that need: The Oilers lost 24 of 40 faceoffs at even strength and all four shorthanded faceoffs. Edmonton went 3-for-15 on offensive zone draws and was 7-for-17 in the defensive zone.

This season the four most frequent faceoff takers for the Oilers are Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (942 faceoffs taken, 44.2 percent success rate), Leon Draisaitl (824, 49 percent), Mark Letestu (678, 50.9 percent) and Connor McDavid (644, 43.9 percent). Letestu is the only right-handed shot.

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