Wild's Fleury will decide on retirement at end of season
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury isn't going to rush into deciding on his retirement ahead of his 20th NHL campaign.
"I just told myself I would give myself the season. See how it goes, see how I feel physically, mentally, and if I still can stop the puck and just make a decision at the end," he told the media Thursday. "I don't want to think about it too much every game, you know, (like), 'Oh, it's going good, I'll play again' or 'Oh, it's going bad, I don't want to play anymore.'
"There'll be ups and downs this season. I just want to get through it and then make a decision at the end."
Fleury similarly wasn't ready to make a definitive decision in April when the Dallas Stars eliminated the Wild in the first round of the playoffs. The iconic netminder said after the series that he planned to play in the 2023-24 season, but "that might be it."
Whenever Fleury decides to hang 'em up, he'll end his career as one of the most beloved goaltenders in league history and a surefire bet to make the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Fleury ranks third on the NHL's all-time wins list with 544 victories and can supplant Patrick Roy (551 wins) for second place in 2023-24. He owns a career .913 save percentage and 2.58 goals against average in 985 contests and will have a chance to become just the fourth goaltender to suit up for 1,000 games this season.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion split the crease with Filip Gustavsson last campaign, posting a 24-16-4 record with a .908 save percentage. Those are certainly admirable numbers for the veteran Fleury, but the 25-year-old Gustavsson broke through in a big way for Minnesota with a sterling .931 save percentage across 39 appearances.
The Wild gave Gustavsson five out of six starts in the playoffs, but Fleury told reporters in May that he wanted to stay in Minnesota even if it meant having a diminished role moving forward.
Fleury spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but he's also suited up for the Vegas Golden Knights and Chicago Blackhawks.
The 2021 Vezina Trophy winner has one season remaining on his current deal at a cap hit of $3.5 million. Fleury turns 39 years old in November.
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