The Vegas Golden Knights chose Marc-Andre Fleury as their selection from the Penguins in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
"We want to thank Marc-Andre Fleury for everything that he has done for the Penguins and the City of Pittsburgh," said Jim Rutherford, executive vice president and general manager of the Penguins. "Marc-Andre is more than just a three-time Stanley Cup champion; he is one of the greatest Pittsburgh Penguins ever, and one of the best and most impactful sports figures in Pittsburgh history. Teams have to make extremely difficult decisions in the salary cap era, but Marc-Andre has been an ultimate professional throughout this process. We hold him in the highest regard as both a player and a person, and we wish nothing but the best for him and his family. He has left a great and lasting legacy in our city."
Fleury, 32, joined the Penguins as the No. 1-overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft, and he leaves as a three-time Stanley Cup champion and the winningest netminder in club history. Only iconic player and owner Mario Lemieux (17 seasons) played more seasons with the Pens than Fleury's 13.
Following his arrival, the affable native of Sorel, Quebec became a fan favorite for both his on-ice and off-ice performance. Fleury's standing as one of the most popular athletes in the history of Pittsburgh sports was affirmed by the hundreds of fans who gathered outside of a DICK'S Sporting Goods in Cranberry, Pa. on Tuesday to say their final goodbyes during an autograph signing.
On the ice, Fleury established himself as not only one of the best goalies in Penguins history, but one of the best in NHL history. He is the only active goalie with three Stanley Cup rings after helping Pittsburgh win a second-straight Cup this past year.
Fleury's best moments as a Penguin came when he backstopped the club to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008 and '09. His dramatic save on Hall of Famer Nick Lidstrom at the buzzer in Game 7 of the '09 Cup Final against Detroit secured Pittsburgh's third Stanley Cup championship.
When Fleury guided the Penguins to the 2009 Stanley Cup championship, he stopped a combined 42 of 45 shots in Game 7 road wins against the NHL's best regular-season team, the Washington Capitals, in the second round, and against the defending-champion Red Wings in the Final.
In his swan song in a Penguins' jersey this year, Fleury was a driving force behind series victories against Columbus and Washington in the first two rounds of the playoffs. He stopped 49 shots in the series-clinching Game 5 win versus the Blue Jackets, before tossing a 29-save shutout in a 2-0 Game 7 win at the Verizon Center against the regular-season champion Capitals, the second time in his career that Fleury knocked the Caps from the playoffs with a Game 7 road win.
Fleury won nine of Pittsburgh's 16 playoff games during its 2017 championship run. His final start in a Penguins uniform at PPG Paints Arena came in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final versus Ottawa. Fleury made 23 saves in a 1-0 shutout victory, leaving the ice to shouts of his name as he was named the contest's 'No. 2 Star.'
Fleury exits Pittsburgh holding the franchise record for both regular-season (375) and playoff (62) wins. He ranks 15th and 13th, respectively, in both categories all-time.
Other career franchise records owned by Fleury include regular-season shutouts (44), regular-season games played by a goalie (691), playoff games played by a goalie (115) and postseason shutouts (10).
The only Pens goaltender to win 40 regular-season games on two occasions, Fleury holds team single-season records for games played (67), shutouts (10) and playoff wins (16). He led the club in wins for 11-straight seasons from 2005-06 until 2015-16.
Extremely popular with his teammates and coaches, Fleury was a two-time team MVP (2011, '15). Fleury was chosen by his fellow players as the winner of the Players' Player Award in each of his final three seasons in Pittsburgh.
One of Fleury's greatest attributes was the stability he brought to the crease. Between the 2005-06 season through the '15-16 campaign, he played in 50 or more games in nine of 11 seasons, with the two exceptions being the '07-08 campaign when he suffered a high-ankle sprain, and the lockout-shortened '12-13 season. Fleury started at least 62 games seven times in those 11 seasons.
Pittsburgh's adulation of Fleury began with his NHL debut on Oct. 10, 2003 against the Los Angeles Kings at the then-Mellon Arena. Despite suffering a 3-0 loss, Fleury made 46 saves on 48 shots, including a penalty shot denial of the Kings' Esa Pirnes.
From that night through the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, only the New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist won more games (466) than Fleury's 437 (regular season and playoffs). No goaltender contributed to more Stanley Cups than Fleury's three.
On Monday, June 19, in his final official function as a Pittsburgh Penguin, Fleury and his wife, Veronique, dedicated a state-of-the-art children's playground that they co-financed with the Penguins Foundation at the Sto-Ken-Rox Boys & Girls Club in the McKees Rocks area as a way to leave his legacy in Pittsburgh. In addition to the outdoor structures, Fleury purchased a multitude of supplies for the Boys & Girls Club, including sports equipment, games, educational materials and electronics. He also donated hockey nets, a score clock and equipment for the Club's indoor dek hockey rink, now named Rink 29.