Penguins Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury Now A Member Of The Vegas Golden Knights

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — It’s an end of an era in Pittsburgh, as Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is now a member of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Fleury was selected 29th for the Knights in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.

The Penguins also traded a 2nd round pick in 2020 to Las Vegas.

Fleury, affectionately known as “The Flower” here in Pittsburgh and to his teammates, joins other players who were once Penguins on the Golden Knights. Those players include James Neal, David Perron and Derek Engelland.

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley and general manager George McPhee announced their choices during the NHL’s annual postseason awards show at T-Mobile Arena, where Vegas will begin play in the fall.

Fleury took the stage in a Golden Knights jersey to wild cheers from his new home fans.

The three-time Cup winner has already been anointed as the face of the new Golden Knights franchise.

“Thanks for the welcome tonight. It was awesome,” Fleury said. “We’ll give it all we’ve got.”

Fleury lost his starting job with the back-to-back champion Penguins, but he’ll get to start over in the desert with two years on his contract.

“I’m very thankful for this opportunity to be in Vegas with a new team and a new organization.”

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.

And, it’s clear his former team is already missing him, too.

As the Expansion Draft was going on, Evgeni Malkin posted this photo to his Instagram account, a thank you to his friend and former teammate:

sad day (((

A post shared by Evgeni Malkin (@e.malkin71geno) on

Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet said this of Fleury on Twitter:

The Penguins added a “flower” emoji to their Twitter handle Wednesday night.

penguins flower twitter Penguins Goalie Marc Andre Fleury Now A Member Of The Vegas Golden Knights

(Source: Twitter)

Also, Sidney Crosby told the Penguins:

And former Penguin and current broadcaster Colby Armstrong tweeted:

Penguins historian Bob Grove tells the “KDKA Morning News” Fleury is a “tremendous, classy individual.”

Grove has followed the Penguins as a member of the media since the 1980s and he has “never seen an example of a player who was more talked about by his teammates, for his value as a teammate than [Fleury] and there is nothing that a hockey player values more than that comradery that comes with being a close team and helps them to succeed.”

In the days leading up to the Expansion Draft, Fleury admitted it was going to 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.

Also at the annual awards ceremony, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was presented with the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy after leading the NHL with 44 goals this season.

crosby hagelin 699480974 Penguins Goalie Marc Andre Fleury Now A Member Of The Vegas Golden Knights

(Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

But Crosby lost out to Edmonton Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid for the Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP) and the Ted Lindsay Award (outstanding player as voted by NHLPA).

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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