The Washington Capitals could still be looking for an upgrade at goaltender at the 2021 NHL Trade Deadline, and per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Marc-Andre Fleury could still be on their radar.
During the first intermission of TNT’s broadcast of the Capitals’ Wednesday tilt with the Oilers, Friedman mentioned that Washington could still be looking to pursue the 2021 Vezina winner.
“I don’t think it’s impossible that Washington goes after Fleury,” Friedman said. “They’ve been interested in him for a while, and I think they’re still interested in him.”
Friedman, however, has said that one question is whether or not No. 29 would want to go to D.C. Fleury was a staple for the Pittsburgh Penguins and won three Stanley Cup titles with the club that drafted him and that Capitals-Penguins rivalry could be something that keeps No. 29 from wanting to go to Washington.
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General manager Brian MacLellan acknowledged the team’s goaltending situation, and said that for the Capitals to deal for a goalie, it would need to be “an obvious upgrade.”
“[It’s] a difficult situation, I think it’s got to be an obvious upgrade for us for it to make sense, or otherwise we go with our guys,” MacLellan said. “Is this going to get us over a hump on the goaltending side? I don’t know if there’s that many guys that are out that are quality. You know, there might be one or two.”
Vitek Vanecek has been outstanding for Washington of late. He had a strong end to January before being out for a couple of weeks with an upper-body injury. However, since making his return on Feb. 28, the Czech netminder picked up right where he left off.
Through 28 games this season Vanecek is now 13-7-5 with a .919 save percentage and 2.32 GAA, along with three shutouts. He ranks among the top netminders in the league.
Ilya Samsonov, however, has struggled, putting up some strong performances and then at other time, having tough outings. He was pulled twice in the month of February, where he took over the crease with Vanecek on the shelf. Through 32 outings this year, the 25-year-old is 17-9-3 with a .901 save percentage and 2.93 GAA, along with three shutouts.
The Athletic‘s Tarik El-Bashir added that he was told that Fleury would be considered an upgrade for Washington. In 42 appearances with the Blackhawks this season, Fleury is 18-20-4 with a .908 SV%, 2.92 GAA and four shutouts.