The NHL trade deadline is less than three weeks away, and Kyle Davidson can officially prepare for it with the proper mindset after he was named the permanent general manager of the Blackhawks on Tuesday.
The biggest trade chip his team possesses is unquestionably Marc-Andre Fleury, who's set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. With the Blackhawks well out of a playoff spot, contenders that need a goaltender will certainly check in on Fleury's status and the price that may come with it.
Here's the thing, though: Fleury is going to determine what his future holds. Despite having a 10-team no-trade list, it's believed the Blackhawks gave Fleury their word that they won't trade him this season, unless he wants to.
And, as of right now, it doesn't look like that will be the case, although it's possible things can change over the next few weeks.
According to TSN's Chris Johnston, Fleury is "leaning towards" finishing the season with the Blackhawks. Of course, the biggest reason why it took Fleury a few days to commit to reporting to Chicago is because he needed some time to reflect and think about whether he wanted to uproot his family.
Even though the verbal agreement came from the old regime, Davidson fully intends on honoring that.
"If he’s here on the last day of the season, I’m fine with that because we have a lot of young players who are learning a heck of a lot from someone that’s one of the best people in the game and one of the best professionals in the game," Davidson said in a roundtable discussion with Chicago beat writers on Wednesday. "That has its own value, so if he sticks here, I’m fine with it."
If Fleury does decide that he prefers to be dealt, he's made it clear he would only want to go to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
"If — IF — I move, I would love a chance to win," Fleury said on Feb. 16. "That's what I play for and that's what I love. It's still a big if at this point."
Davidson confirmed that he's had "a couple" of conversations with Fleury's agent Allan Walsh, although they've been "very, very general."
With the trade deadline on March 21 and Davidson now permanently in his role as GM, the two sides are likely to communicate more frequently in the coming weeks about what the future may look like for Fleury the rest of this season.
"Nothing specific but just recognizing where the team is, and Marc said that if he were to move he would like to have a chance to win, which we understand," Davidson said of his conversations with Walsh. "But there’s also the understanding that he’s very comfortable here as well. We’ll keep that dialogue open and see where things end up."
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