The Anaheim Ducks have obtained defenseman Haydn Fleury, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, from the Carolina Hurricanes for fellow blueliner Jani Hakanpaa and a 2022 sixth-round pick.
Fleury, who had been held out of the lineup by Carolina leading up to the trade deadline, carries a modest salary cap hit of $1.3 million for 2021-22 and has two seasons of team control remaining beyond this one, making the 24-year-old an attractive trade piece. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound left-handed shot recorded four goals and 10 assists in 45 games last season but has only one goal and a minus-6 rating in 35 games in 2020-21.
Fleury has recorded five goals, 19 assists and a minus-6 rating in 167 games over four seasons in Carolina.
With the acquisition of the 29-year-old Hakanpaa, the Hurricanes are adding a player that fits in with their physical style going into the playoffs. The 6-5, 218-pound Hakanpaa has recorded 168 hits and 65 hits this season, which were both the most on Anaheim’s roster by a wide margin. The right-handed shot, set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, played in all 42 games for the Ducks and averaged more than 18 minutes of ice time.
At 27-9-4, Carolina was tied atop the Central Division going into Monday’s games. Hakanpaa will provide key depth for a talented Hurricanes defense led by Dougie Hamilton, Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce, though he may slide into the lineup right away. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the St. Louis Blues and didn’t have any significant NHL experience before this season, playing in five games for the Ducks in 2019-20.
Fleury, a big player who can move the puck, was unable to put it all together with the Hurricanes after being drafted in the top 10 seven years ago. He put up big numbers in the Western Hockey League, but has bounced between the Hurricanes and Charlotte of the AHL since his NHL debut during the 2017-18 season.
Taken one spot ahead of Toronto Maple Leafs star forward William Nylander, Anaheim is taking a flier on Fleury’s upside and hoping a change of scenery will remove the pressure to develop quickly for the native of Regina, Saskatchewan.
The rebuilding Ducks are in last place in the eight-team West Division and will miss the playoffs for the third straight season. They also traded defenseman Ben Hutton to Toronto before the deadline.
I’m a resident of the Chicago suburbs by way of White Plains, NY. I worked for the Associated Press sports department in New York City for 10 years before moving to Chicago in 2005, when the AP’s then-internet division entered into a joint venture with STATS LLC. I worked for STATS for 11 years, until 2016. Since then I’ve covered the Rangers for Elite Sports NY, a hyper-local website, writing long form features and news stories. I’m very excited to be a part of The Hockey Writers.