Marc-Andre Fleury signed a three-year, $21 million contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. Vegas keeps a huge piece of their core in place. What does this all mean? What impact may it have down the road? Let’s take a look.
Marc-Andre Fleury contract explained
Again, thanks to CapFriendly, contracts are easier to dive into quickly. He earns $7,000,000 for the 2018-19 campaign. This article from The US News makes sense of it here. Here are a few insights from Marc-Andre Fleury:
“It was a good season, I think the numbers are something, but they don’t always show the game and stuff, but I think my teammates are a big part of it,” Fleury said one day after the Golden Knights’ season ended. “They were a big help to me all this season. I don’t know, it’s weird. A year ago, I was told I was getting too old to play, I still had a lot of fun. Vegas has given me this opportunity to do a lot, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else, and hopefully I can finish my career here.”
Marc-Andre Fleury’s salary comes in at $5.75 million for 2018-19. The salary cap hit with this extension comes in at $7 million AAV. However, the salary structure is as follows:
- 2019-20: $8.5 million salary
- 2020-21: $6.5 million salary
- 2021-22: $6 million salary
Now, there are some wrinkles in this deal. Note, the contract gives no signing bonus along with a step down in each of the seasons. Checking exhaustively, there is a modified no-trade clause for the duration of the deal. This surprised many in the hockey world.
Speaking of one person. Here are a few thoughts from Dimitri Filipovic:
Vegas basically broke every single rule when it comes to contracts with that Fleury deal.
1. Paid for a career season
2. Took on risk by signing a year in advance but didn’t save any money on the AAV.
3. Gave term to a player that’ll be 35(!) by the time it kicks in.
The extension and down that long and winding road
Fleury is currently 33-years old. When the extension kicks in, Marc-Andre Fleury will be almost 35. The question becomes what happens to Vegas in this time as the goalie’s contract ends at age 37.
George McPhee is in a unique situation. Vegas finished two games from winning the Stanley Cup in their debut season. The question becomes what is next?
How much does Fleury and the team regress from last season? It was clear the breakout campaign was not an accident (nine players had career years). Fleury finished in the top five for All-Star and Vezina voting. Most of the surrounding core remains intact and Paul Stastny was added.
Fleury started 46 games while playing all 20 games in the playoffs. Expect that regular season number to increase, given the expectation that Fleury should be in better health. As Fleury ages, the health and play questions will amplify into focus.
Some numbers and notes
Among other things, we can use some numbers from Hockey Reference. First, Fleury enjoyed a solid 9.9 goalie point share. His goals saved above average was 20.77 which was also among the top five in the league (tops per game). Furthermore, the goalie managed an astounding .898 penalty kill save percentage (.875 is average). Penalty kill save percentage can be flippant but that is still an impressive year. Also, consider that Fleury is a career .888 on the penalty kill.
Fleury is a player capable of displaying great runs as far as quality of play. Unfortunately, health always presents itself as a question mark. The Vegas depth chart features Malcolm Subban and Maxime Lagace. Fleury needs to stay as well as possible.
Fleury’s rating on Corsica is currently 4th but that may fall. Manny Perry combined many factors — low and high danger save percentage along with penalty kill and even strength contributions. The goaltender enjoyed some playoff which included a great low danger save percentage of around .990 and solid high danger save percentage of .882. That latter number is astronomical. Those regular season numbers came in at .979 and .768 respectively. Some can argue that Fleury may maintain that for a year, maybe two, before a regression hits.
Finally, the Vegas goalie’s ability to make quicker decisions and fast reflexes are not in question here. There is concern with again age and team play. No one knows how Vegas will perform in years 2, 3, or 4, for that matter. That will alter Fleury’s numbers as well. Vegas paid for an ambassador of a goalie who again had an amazing, hot run. Those intangibles alone justify some of the reason for the salary. Can Marc-Andre Fleury sustain that 2017-18 level or come close? That is the question.