Now on forced vacation, goaltender Marc-André Fleury can think about his next decision in determining the team he will play for in 2022-2023 and he is not saying no to a return with the Minnesota Wild.
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The 37-year-old Quebecer is eligible for full autonomy this year and the next season, which he intends to play, may very well be the last of his career in the National Hockey League. Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2021-2022 campaign, he obviously wants to wear the uniform of a club with a logical chance of winning the Stanley Cup. And he liked what he saw in Minnesota, even though the Wild lost in six games to the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs.
“Everything has happened quickly since our first meeting. I am happy to have shown up here and to have obtained the opportunity to play with this formation. This is a great locker room. The chemistry is good between the guys and with the staff members, he described at a press conference on Monday, in the organization's season report. The people in and around town are also very welcoming and pleasant.”
Certainly, the one who had a 9-2-0 record in Minnesota in the regular season would have liked his playoff run to end differently, he who saw head coach Dean Evason prefer Cam Talbot to defend the net in game 6.
“It is very disappointing. We had high expectations and a lot of success in the regular season. There were positives throughout the year. But St. Louis was a tough opponent. It's sad, because both teams battled hard for valuable points in the standings. Except that one of them had to go.”
A somewhat obscure sequel
In the short term, Fleury's future is pretty clear, as he was planning to return to Chicago on Monday. His children are completing their school year there. Then, he will spend the summer in Montreal. But as for the longer term, he cannot certify the content.
"Time flies. We are two months away from the opening of the free agent market. I will have to make decisions and see what is best for me,” he replied with some hesitation when asked about his plans.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Hawks alum has completed a three-year, $21 million contract. This year, he posted a 2.90 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.