marc-ande-fleury1Fleury Trade Scenarios

Trade talks surrounding Marc Andre Fleury are dead quiet at the moment, TIOPS has learned. Team sources indicate the Penguins have nothing brewing right now and they’ve even informed the Fleury camp over the last week that a trade by March 1 is unlikely, but it’s still early enough where something could transpire near the final week of the deadline.

As reported here in January, the team the Penguins had the most substantive trade talks surrounding Fleury this season has been with the Dallas Stars.

Those talks described as ‘exploratory at the time have cooled significantly over the last six weeks with Dallas on the fence about Fleury but a complicated deal with the Stars could still come into play closer to March 1 if the Stars decided to move on Fleury which they haven’t to this point.

Pittsburgh and Dallas were in the news nationally yesterday when NHL insider Pierre LeBrun made the potential connection.

“I’m told that there has at least has been a very preliminary discussion between Pittsburgh and Dallas regarding Marc Andre Fleury, but I stress preliminary because I don’t think there’s anything there at this point,” LeBrun said on TSN Toronto 1050.

Any deal is extremely complicated because of the Stars goaltending situation with $10.4 million committed to Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen next season and Marc Andre Fleury having two years left on his deal with a $5.75 million cap hit, widely considered by NHL decision makers a bad contract for an aging goaltending in today’s goalie market and flat cap world.

With the help of an NHL executive, I placed an estimated trade value for individual players in identifying some trade scenarios between the two teams.

The value is placed on a team acquiring a player alone, for example if the Penguins tried to acquire Patrick Eaves as a rental move, the cost for the Penguins or any team would be in the projected range of a 2nd and 4th round pick, per NHL sources.

Marc Andre Fleury | Trade Value – 4th Round Pick

Dan Hamhuis | Trade Value – 2nd and 5th round pick
Patrick Eaves | Trade Value – 2nd and 4th round pick
Jiri Hudler | Trade Value – 3rd round pick
Patric Sharp | Trade Value – 2nd round pick
Antti Niemi | Trade Value – 6th round pick

1. Dallas receives Marc Andre Fleury, 2017 6th round pick
Pittsburgh receives Antti Niemi, 2017 3rd round pick, 2017 4th round pick

This scenario has been immediately floated out there. There is some long-term incentive for the Penguins. While the Penguins would only save $1.25 million in cap space, Niemi’s cap hit would come off the books after next season and Pittsburgh could also have the option of a buy-out which is much less than the Penguins were to buy-out Fleury prior to the expansion draft.

A buy-out of Niemi this summer would cost the Penguins $1.5 million for the next two seasons, a buy-out of Fleury would cost the Penguins around $1.9 million for the next four seasons.

For the Penguins to make this trade in-season, they would need some incentive. A 2nd round pick could potentially do the trick but one executive I ran this by thought a second rounder would be overvaluing Fleury even with the Penguins taking on Niemi.

2. Dallas receives Marc Andre Fleury, 2017 2nd round pick, 2018 3rd round pick
Pittsburgh receives Dan Hamhuis, 2018 5th round pick

Hamhuis improved play away from John Klingberg has quieted talk that the Stars are still looking to move Hamhuis. The Penguins, though, are big fans. Jim Rutherford tried multiple times last season to acquire Hamhuis and has looked into Hamhuis again. Even at age 34 with another year left on his contract at a $3.75 million cap hit, Hamhuis would land at least a 2nd round pick on the market.

The incentive for the Penguins: Save $2 million against the cap for next season, no salary committed from the trade for 2018-2019 season which brings a lot of value.

3. Dallas receives Marc Andre Fleury, Josh Archibald, 2017 3rd round pick
Pittsburgh Receives Patrick Sharp, 2017 5th round pick

Sharp having a disappointing season with six goals and 12 points in 29 games, can still skate and shoot the puck. Would give Pittsburgh another option in the top-9 and a threat on a second power play unit. Pittsburgh had significant interest in Sharp at the 2015 draft.

It would be a near even money swap for this season, so the money works for 2017, but the Penguins would have to ante up to be able to swing something without keeping a percentage of Fleury’s cap hit or getting a deal like this without taking on a salary for next season as Sharp is a free agent.

A major home run for the Penguins is any deal where they can wipe Fleury’s contract off the books for next season, even if it means selling a high pick or a mid-tier prospect.

The Stars have scouted the Penguins farm system frequently and are looking to get faster upfront. Josh Archibald who is earning rave reviews from scouts outside of Pittsburgh with his speed game and combination of grit/skill, would be an ideal target for the Stars and type of mid-tier prospect the Penguins wouldn’t want to move but that’s what it might cost to swing this type of deal where the Penguins would be able to completely clear the books for next season.