Yesterday was the NHL trade deadline and the main trade that stood out was Marc-Andre Fluery getting traded to the Minnesota Wild. The future Hall of Fame goalie has gone from team to team over the last 2 years. Why? How come? Why is this goalie who was at the peak of his career getting moved from team to team?
Fluery had a career season in 2021. He won Vezina and Jennings awards and made his first all star team. However, he has seemed to decline in 2022. He is 36th in the NHL in GAA with 2.95, after being 3rd last season with 1.98. He is 32nd in the NHL in save percentage with .908, after being 3rd in this category last season with .928.
As a Capitals fan, I sadly consider Fluery more as a winner, especially in his 13 years in Pittsburgh. He had a 375-216-2-66 record with the Penguins (2 is ties when that was allowed). That means he won over 56% percentage of his game with the Penguins. That is a good percentage. He also won 3 Stanley Cups. Fluery reminds me of 2 NBA players that have been in the same situation.
Fluery won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017 and made the Stanley Cup finals in 2018. James Harden was great in 2016 and 2017 and won the MVP in 2018, leading the Rockets to the top record in basketball. Russell Westbrook was a great player in 2016, won the MVP in 2017 and averaged a triple double in 2018. Fluery was traded in 2021 from the Golden Knights to Blackhawks after winning the Vezina. He was then flipped to Minnesota just recently. Fluery didn’t quite gain chemistry with the Blackhawks. Same thing for James Harden and Russell Westbrook. James Harden joined the Nets in early 2021 and hasn’t had the scoring edge or execution he used to have. He is now on 76ers after getting traded. Russell Westbrook went from averaging a triple double in 2021 with the Wizards to getting traded to the Lakers and not averaging 20 points per game for the first time since 2010 and not averaging a triple double. It seems to be these stars that were at the top of their level not long ago, are having trouble gaining chemistry and their groove which is causing them to go from team to team.
Maybe Fluery’s quick decline is just because of the fact that he’s 37 years old. However, the 78 point Wild are in a good spot in their division and if Fluery becomes the player he was less than a year ago, the Minnesota Wild will be true championship contenders for the first time in a very long time!
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