Penguins co-owner: I wish we could have kept Fleury forever

Posted: 17/07/2017 in NHL, Sports
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Ron Burkle would gladly have given up the money earned through expansion if it meant holding on to Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner mentioned his great reluctance to part ways with the goalie in an interview with Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“What Fleury did for us by being more of a stand-up person than you could ever imagine anybody being and (general manager Jim Rutherford’s) call to keep him all year, which was exactly the right thing to do – I wish we could have given the $15 million (expansion fee) back and kept him forever,” Burkle said.

Burkle is referring to Fleury taking a back seat following the emergence of Matt Murray and handling the situation like a consummate professional.

There were other factors in play, of course – notably, a salary cap that makes it difficult to carry two bona fide starting goalies and a market that dictated Fleury likely would have been traded.

In the end, Fleury was exposed in the expansion draft and selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, giving them an accomplished netminder right out of the gate.

Fleury was selected first overall by the Penguins in 2003 – four years after Burkle, along with Mario Lemieux, helped save the club from bankruptcy and potential relocation. He won 375 regular-season games and three Stanley Cups during his time in Pittsburgh.

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