Report: Golden Knights have spoken to teams about Marchessault, Fleury
The Vegas Golden Knights' attempt to become salary cap compliant could lead to the departure of one of its original marquee players.
Following Tuesday's report that Vegas is trying to move Max Pacioretty, the Golden Knights have also spoken to teams about trading Jonathan Marchessault and Marc-Andre Fleury, sources told The Athletic's Jesse Granger. Both players were members of the original 2017-18 squad that went to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Golden Knights need to shed just $1 million to become cap compliant, so the team would only need to move one of these players - not all three.
Marchessault is signed for four more seasons carrying a $5-million annual cap hit. The 29-year-old tallied 20-plus goals for the fourth consecutive season in 2019-20, registering 47 points in 66 games. There would usually be no shortage of suitors for a top-six forward on a fair contract in normal times, but the flat salary cap has left several teams with their hands tied.
Fleury, 36, would seemingly be difficult to move. He has two years remaining on his deal with a $7-million annual cap hit, and his play declined last season. His .905 save percentage was tied for his lowest since 2005-06, and his -6.5 goals saved above average was the third-worst of his career.
Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon said in October that Fleury wasn't going anywhere, despite re-signing fellow goaltender Robin Lehner to a five-year, $25-million deal.
McCrimmon dug himself into a cap hole by signing prized free-agent blue-liner Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year pact carrying an $8.8-million average annual value. It came at the cost of trading away Paul Stastny and Nate Schmidt for pennies on the dollar.
NHL teams are allowed to be 10% over the salary cap during the offseason, but can't be higher than $81.5 million once the season starts. A Jan. 13 start date is reportedly the league's target now.
If the Golden Knights want the ability to carry the usual 19-21 skaters without trading any of its top players, it may require the trade of two of the following four depth pieces: Tomas Nosek ($1.25M AAV), William Carrier ($1.4M), Nick Holden ($1.7M), and Ryan Reaves ($1.75M).
Time is of the essence, and this offseason has not proven to be a seller's market.
(Cap source: CapFriendly)