LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In a surprising move, today the Vegas Golden Knights traded away the greatest goaltender the team's ever had, sending Marc-Andre Fleury to Chicago in exchange for a minor league forward. 13 Action News spoke with a few emotional fans who are upset Fleury is gone and with the way it went down.
ORIGINAL STORY: VGK's Marc-Andre Fleury trade to Chicago Blackhawks confirmed
"Pretty mad and still kinda reeling on it," said Tonya Fabian, reacting to the news.
"I'm just devastated," added Mariel Nole.
Sad, mad, or somewhere in between, VGK fans are feeling emotional after the team traded away its star goaltender and the face of the franchise, Marc-Andre Fleury.
"I think it's very emotional. I mean, it's hard to get this kind of attachment and get ripped away," said Nole.
After the trade, the team took to Twitter to thank Fleury for all he's done over the past four years. Ironically, Twitter is reportedly how Fleury first found out he was being traded, since he hadn't heard from the team the deal went down, according to his agent.
"I think that's a pretty rough way to go, I really do. I think it should've been an official announcement before it ever hit social media," said Fabian.
Golden Knights General Manager Kelly McCrimmon says he and Fleury had talked many times in the last month about the chances he could be traded, but didn't get to tell him about today's trade until it was too late.
"The rumors hit Twitter before I spoke to Marc-Andre Fleury. We had not, in fact, even completed the trade call. We hadn't begun the trade call with NHL Central Registry. We would never speak to a player before you got to the trade call, in case things don't unfold," said McCrimmon during a Zoom call with the media.
One of the original members of the team, Fleury stepped into the starting lineup from day one, helping lead the team to the finals in its first season and emerging as the face of the new franchise.
In Fleury's four seasons with Vegas, he won 117 games and led the team to the postseason all four years, perhaps saving his best season for last year, when he finished among the league leaders in goals against average and save percentage on his way to winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender.
"I kinda wish he was our initial captain when we were trying to decide. Stone has been great, but it just seems he's able to rally everybody together. Those impossible moments, he's able to bring out of everybody," said Nole.
Fleury became as big a winner off the ice as he was on it, volunteering with organizations like the Make-A-Wish foundation, and often connecting with kids in the crowd, winning over the hearts of the entire fanbase.
"He was just always there for the community, always there for fans, just an amazing guy. I think that's why he was so popular is he was so down to earth, so him, very personable, very easy-going," said Fabian.
During McCrimmon's Zoom call with the media, he also said the main reasons he made this move are because the team believes in Robin Lehner as the starting goalie going forward, and to free up more cap space so they can improve the team in other areas in free agency.
Fleury is reportedly considering retirement and may never play for Chicago.