Wild acquire Marc-Andre Fleury in blow to Capitals

Marc-Andre Fleury won’t be coming to Washington.

The Minnesota Wild — not the Washington Capitals — traded for the three-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender on Monday, sending a conditional second-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 37-year-old. The Capitals were rumored to be interested in Fleurybut momentum for the Wild had appeared to gather steam lately.

The deal was finalized just hours before Monday’s 3 pm trade deadline.

This season, Fleury has a .905 save percentage and has allowed 2.95 goals per game. This was his first season with the Blackhawks after the Vegas Golden Knights traded him to Chicago in the offseason.

The Blackhawks, though, are rebuilding and so they looked to move Fleury to get compensation for the future. As part of the deal, Minnesota’s conditional second-round pick can become a first-round pick if Minnesota reaches the Western Conference Final or if Fleury is credited with at least four wins over the first two rounds of the playoffs.

The Wild are 36-20-4 this season with 77 points. They are third in the Central Division and had been mostly starting Cam Talbot in net.

The Capitalsmeanwhile, were thought to be interested in adding a veteran goalie as they’ve spent the year rotating mostly between Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov.

Both lack experience, with Vanechek making his NHL debut in 2021 and Samsonov’s coming the year before that. Vanecek and Samsonov have been solid, though general manager Brian MacLellan expressed concern a few weeks ago about them allowing ill-timed goals.

“The thing concerning me is sometimes the goals, the timing of the goals, game-situation goals that some veteran guys would tighten it up and make that save,” MacLellan said. “It’s not the overall save percentage, it’s when and how the goals happen. That’s another thing that can zap momentum from your team and you’re digging a hole and you got to dig out of it. You know, we’re balancing. We’re gonna make calls and we’re gonna see if something makes sense.

“But overall we got two pretty good goalies that are still finding their way in the league.”

That reasoning is why Fleury — the Capitals‘ long-time rival with the Pittsburgh Penguins — made sense. But now, he‘s no longer an option.

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