May 24th, 2024

Marc-Andre Fleury signs a $2.5M extension with the Wild to return for next season at age 40

By The Associated Press on April 17, 2024.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury reaches to stop a shot during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Wild signed goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to a one-year, $2.5 million contract extension on Wednesday, bringing back the veteran for his age-40 season.

Fleury, who turns 40 on Nov. 28, has had a prolific season in which he passed Patrick Roy for second place behind Martin Brodeur on the NHL ‘s all-time list in career goaltending wins. Brodeur (691) is still 130 ahead of Fleury, but don’t expect him to stick with that long-shot pursuit.

“I’m not doing this again,” Fleury told reporters after practice. “No, this is it.”

Fleury is 17-14-5 with an .895 save percentage that is the lowest of his 20-year career, and his 2.98 goals against average is his worst in seven seasons, but his performance behind a depleted group of defenseman has belied his surface-level statistics. He has two shutouts for the Wild, who were eliminated from contention for the playoffs last week. They host Seattle on Thursday to conclude the regular season.

“He’s played so well for us this season it’s too soon for him to retire,” Guerin said.

The Wild also have goalie Filip Gustavsson under contract for two more seasons on a $3.75 million salary cap charge and top prospect Jesper Wallstedt still waiting in the wings. Though Gustavsson’s performance dropped off this season, Guerin said he sees no rush to move on to Wallstedt yet.

“The worst thing you can do is force somebody in,” Guerin said.

The Wild acquired Fleury two years ago in a deadline-day trade with Chicago, and he’s 50-32-9 with a 2.89 goals against average and a .903 save percentage in 96 appearances with 91 starts. This will be the first time in 18 years – since he was a 21-year-old with Pittsburgh – that Fleury won’t make the playoffs.

“It’s about winning, and it’s disappointing to miss playoffs,” Fleury said. “That’s the one thing that’s top of my mind first about this year.”

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL

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