There is a good chance the Pittsburgh Penguins hold on to veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and keep him beyond Wednesday's 3pm ET trade deadline.
Fleury, 32, has two-years left on his contract after this season and earns $5.75 million per year.
He has been the subject of numerous trade rumors this season, as the Penguins have taken calls on him. Sources close to the Penguins have told TFP a trade prior to the deadline, while possible, seems unlikely, and a trade in the off-season, prior to the expansion draft, is considered a guarantee.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford reiterated his preference to hold on to Fleury as insurance if young star netminder Matt Murray goes down with an injury down the stretch.
"I'm going to say what I've said all along. I'd prefer to keep him," Rutherford told reporters on Friday, as quoted by NHL.com. "We play a lot of games in March. You don't know when players are going to get hurt. He's handled the situation very well.
"I'm going to have some communication with him in between now and the [deadline] and see exactly where he sits and how he feels. That will play a part in the final decision. But I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself because he very well could be a part of our team going down the stretch."
The Dallas Stars have fairly significant expressed interest in Fleury and could persuade Rutherford into making a deal, but the two sides may not pull the trigger on a move until June.
The Stars would need to send a goalie back to Pittsburgh -- talks have reportedly focused on Antti Niemi, who has one-year left on his contract at $4.5 million -- in a trade for Fleury, but the Penguins want Dallas to eat a chunk of Niemi's deal.
Given how the Stars have fallen out of the playoff race and have started to sell -- they traded winger Patrick Eaves to the Anaheim Ducks on Friday for a draft pick -- they could hold off on making a move for Fleury until after the season and allow him to remain the insurance the Penguins want in goal.