NHL Notebook: Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury addresses his future and Michael Andlauer debuts as new owner of the Ottawa Senators
Photo credit:David Berding/Getty Images
2 months ago
As possible future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury gears up for the upcoming season, a burning question looms: Could this be his final campaign?
The 38-year-old is entering the last leg of his two-year deal that carries a $3.5 million cap hit. This puts him back on the market as an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, despite embarking on his 20th NHL season, he isn’t going to think about whether or not to hang up the skates until the year is over.
“I thought about it this summer, but I just told myself I would give myself this season, see how it goes, see how I feel physically. Mentally, if I still can stop the puck, I can just make a decision at the end,” Fleury shared with media on Thursday.
“I don’t want to think about it too much, every game. You know, ‘Oh, it’s going good, I’ll play again,’ or, ‘It’s going bad, I don’t wanna play anymore.’ You know what I mean? There will be ups and downs this season. I’ll try to get through it and make a decision at the end.”
Fleury has been in the NHL spotlight since he was picked first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003, an accomplishment only achieved by two other goaltenders in NHL history (Michel Plasse Montreal Canadiens 1968, and Rick DiPietro New York Islanders 2000). Since then Fleury has established himself as arguably one of the best goaltenders to grace the creases of the NHL.
His debut season in 2003-04 was only a glimpse of the greatness Fleury was destined to bring to the league, making 22 appearances with a record of 4-14-2 on a poor Pittsburgh team. Fast forward to 2008-09, he anchored the Penguins to what would be his first Stanley Cup after finishing the postseason with a .908 save percentage and 2.61 goals against average.
Fleury maintained his role as the Penguins’ primary goaltender for the next several years, once again playing a pivotal role in Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup triumph in 2015-16. As the 2016-17 season unfolded, however, Matt Murray began to shine for the Penguins and assumed the starting goaltender position. The young goaltender shared the net with Fleury during the playoffs, with Murray making 11 appearances while Fleury guarded the posts 15 times. Regardless of who stood between the pipes, the Penguins managed to clinch back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.
The summer following the team’s victory was unusual for the Cup winners as the Vegas Golden Knights made their way into the league via the expansion draft. Due to cap constraints, the Penguins opted to protect Murray which led to Fleury’s selection by the Golden Knights. In July of 2021, Fleury was shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Michael Hakkarainen, and a only year later, was traded to the Minnesota Wild in March of 2022.
Fluery’s career extends beyond three Stanley Cup rings. He stands behind only Patrick Roy (551) and Martin Brodeur (691) for all-time regular season victories and has been a recipient of the Vezina Trophy (2020-21), and a William M. Jennings Trophy (2020-21). Throughout his 985 games, he posts an impressive record of 544-315-91 with a .913 save percentage and 2.58 GAA.
Michael Andlauer debuts as the new owner of Ottawa Senators
With a smile on his face, Michael Andlauer slipped on an Ottawa Senators Jersey and lifted a glass in celebration, marking the commencement of his new journey as the owner of the Ottawa Senators.
“There are so many emotions, it reminds me of my wedding day: excited, overwhelmed a little bit, nervous, but I’m happy — happy knowing I’m in good company, ” he expressed during a press conference at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Friday.
“The future looks very bright.”
Andlauer and his group received unanimous approval by the league’s board of governors on Thursday, solidifying his purchase of the Senators. He took over his role immediately, offering a reassuring message to the fans, the market in a message to fans, declaring his dedication to the team’s success and commitment to making a positive impact
“This city and the fans, you’re the true owners and I promise to take care of your team with the utmost respect, integrity, and care both on and off the ice.”
Andlauer didn’t hesitate to make any moves with his new title revealing the reinstatement of Cyril Leader as the president and CEO of the Senators organization as well as touched on the plans for a possible new area closer to Ottawa’s downtown core.
The club was officially listed for sale on November 7th, following the passing of its previous owner Eugene Melnyk, on March 28th, 2022. On June 13, after an extensive auction process featuring four final bids for the franchise, the Melnyk estate representatives in collaboration with Galatioto Sports Partners (a sports banker company from New York), reached a tentative agreement with Andlauer’s group. Melnyk’s daughters will retain a 10 per cent share in the franchise.
Ahead of the agreement, Toronto billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos was the front-runner in the sale but walked away in early June when negotiations ran too long with the Melnyk group. Jeffery and Michael Kimel of Harlo Capital were also among the applicants, alongside Los Angeles producer Neko Sparks and Ryan Reynolds, accompanied by the Markham-based Remington Group.
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