PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After months of speculation, the Las Vegas Golden Knights are announcing their NHL Expansion Draft picks tonight.
The NHL’s newest franchise will start play this fall, but General Manager George McPhee has been working hard to assemble his roster.
Part of the process was to select one player from each of the NHL’s 30 existing franchises. This past weekend, the NHL released the list of each team’s protected players. The results of the Expansion Draft will be announced during the NHL Awards Show Wednesday night.
It was an end of an era, as Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was taken by the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Fleury was selected 29th for the Knights.
The Penguins also traded a 2nd round pick in 2020 to Las Vegas.
Fleury was taken first overall by the Penguins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, the 32-year-old goaltender has become a fan favorite.
In fact, hundreds of people lined up outside the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Cranberry Township on Tuesday for a chance to say goodbye.
As the Expansion Draft was going on, Evgeni Malkin posted this photo to his Instagram account:
Fleury has admitted it will be difficult to say goodbye to Pittsburgh.
“This is like my home. It’ll be tough, but I know what’s coming… and I’m glad people will remember me as a good person, not just a goalie, and I think that’s important for me, too,” Fleury said.
While Fleury has seen his playing time reduced due to the rise of Matt Murray, he was an integral part of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run.
When Murray suffered an injury during warmups of the first game of the playoffs, Fleury stepped in and would eventually lead his team to the Eastern Conference Final.
While he would be replaced by Murray, Fleury went 9-6 with a 2.56 GAA and a .924 save percentage in the playoffs, which included a shutout in Game 7 against Washington.
Fleury played in 691 regular season games for the Penguins and posted a record of 375-216-66 to go along with a 2.58 GAA and a .912 save percentage.
While all eyes will be on Las Vegas’ picks, it figures to be a busy night for the Penguins at the NHL Awards Show. One player in particular is hoping to add to his already impressive trophy haul.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is a finalist for both the Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP) and the Ted Lindsay Award (outstanding player as voted by NHLPA). Crosby will also be presented with the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy after leading the NHL with 44 goals this season.
Edmonton Oilers’ star Conner McDavid beat Crosby out for the Lindsay Award.
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