Vegas deals Vezina-winner Fleury to Chicago, Vancouver puts Holtby on waivers

Reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been traded from Vegas to Chicago and is contemplating his future, according to his agent.

Allan Walsh tweeted Tuesday that Fleury had still not heard from the Golden Knights about the deal. The 36-year-old goalie did not have Chicago on his 10-team no-trade list but did not want to play for any team other than Vegas.

“Marc-Andre will be taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time,” Walsh posted on Twitter. 

It’s the first time in 20 years the reigning Vezina winner was traded before the next season. Buffalo traded Dominik Hasek to Detroit on the first day of free agency in 2001.

Fleury went 26-10-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .928 save percentage last season. He started 16 of the Golden Knights’ 19 playoff games over Robin Lehner, who is signed for four more seasons.

Lehner finished the postseason as the starter after a gaffe by Fleury late in Game 3 of the semifinals altered the series against Montreal and led coach Peter DeBoer to switch back and forth between his two goalies. 

Fleury becomes the first goalie in 20 years to be traded as the reigning Vezina trophy winner. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup-winner, is set to count $7 million US against the salary cap next season, and is owed $6 million in actual money. The reported return of a minor leaguer indicates the move was a salary dump by Vegas.

“The opportunity to acquire a Vezina-winning goaltender is rare and one you cannot pass up,” Blackhawks president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman said.

“Marc-Andre improves our goaltending, strengthens our team defense and will have a huge impact on the overall development of the Blackhawks. Having a goaltender like this on our team will put the talent we currently have on our roster in a better position to achieve sustained success.”

Canucks, Sharks place goalies on waivers

The Vancouver Canucks have placed goalie Braden Holtby on waivers ahead of a buyout.

The 31-year-old netminder came to Vancouver in free agency last year, signing a two-year deal with an average annual value of $4.3 million.

He played 21 games for the Canucks, posting a 7-11-3 record with a .889 save percentage and a 3.67 goals-against average. 

Holtby, who hails from Lloydminster, Sask., previously played 10 seasons for the Washington Capitals, winning a Stanley Cup in 2017 and was awarded the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender in 2016. 

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The Edmonton Oilers also made a move Tuesday before the NHL’s buyout window closed, placing left-winger James Neal on waivers.

The 33-year-old from Whitby, Ont., had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 29 games last season, his second in Edmonton following stints in Calgary, Vegas, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Dallas.

San Jose put Martin Jones on unconditional waivers for the purposes of buying out the remainder of his contract. 

Jones backstopped the Sharks to the 2017 Cup Final but has had a sub-.900 save percentage each of the past three seasons and was signed for three more at a cap hit of $5.75 million.

“We knew change was needed,” GM Doug Wilson said. “This was not a decision we made lightly. It’s never enjoyable to part with someone that, to me, has been such a big part of our franchise for the past six years.”

Vancouver secures Garland 

The Vancouver Canucks have locked up one of their latest acquisitions, signing forward Conor Garland to a five-year contract.

The club says the deal comes with an average annual value of $4.95 million. 

Vancouver picked up Garland and veteran defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a blockbuster trade with the Arizona Coyotes ahead of the first round of the NHL entry draft on Friday. 

In exchange, the Coyotes got Vancouver’s first-round pick in this year’s draft (No. 9), forwards Jay Beagle, Loui Eriksson and Antoine Roussel, the Canucks’ second-round selection in 2022 and the team’s seventh-round pick in 2023.

Garland, 25, had 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 49 games with Arizona last season, and led the team in assists. 

Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement the team is pleased to have reached a deal with Garland, who was set to become a restricted free agent.