Haydn Fleury THW Close-Up
Date of Birth: July 8, 1996
Place of Birth: Regina, SK
Ht: 6’3” Wt: 201 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2014
Aaron Ekblad is the best defenseman available in the 2014 NHL Draft class. He’s really, really good.
Red Deer Rebels blueliner Haydn Fleury is likely the next-best defender available. You could describe Fleury in many ways as the poor man’s Aaron Ekblad without really disparaging either player. Like Ekblad, Fleury is a big, rangy defender. He’s got a big frame and is strong, but can still fill out. He’s not a sniper by any stretch and can probably improve his offensive instincts a bit, but still contributed 46 points for the Rebels. And he wore a letter for Brent Sutter’s club, which speaks volumes about his leadership potential.
In a nutshell, Haydn Fleury is a defenseman’s defenseman. He uses his size and speed well to keep defenders to the outside. His skating is good, but not great, but he’s a smart enough positional player that it hasn’t mattered. He’s physical, but not overly aggressive and his judgment – in terms of going for the body or pinching – is generally pretty good. His decision-making might need to be a bit quicker at the pro level against faster and bigger guys, and he could probably continue to develop a bit of a mean streak for the same reasons.
Fleury is pretty good already, yet still has a ton of potential. He’s got the ideal NHL frame and can likely fill out into the prototypical NHL defenseman’s body – big, strong and fairly fast for a big guy. The key thing going forward will be for him to continue to progress and work on the little things in his game. He’s not quite as NHL-ready as the incredibly-gifted Aaron Ekblad, but Fleury is very well-rounded and outside of his no-frills offensive game, he doesn’t have a weak spot in his game.
“Rarely found out of position, constantly shifting small distances to cut down angles and disrupt passing plays, especially close to the crease .. intelligent instincts clearly evident .. possesses the physical ability to lean on opposing players and a long reach to protect the puck allowing him to create turnovers and disrupt the oppositions forecheck…”
–Andy Levangie, McKeens Hockey
“Haydn Fleury is a solid two-way defender with good size at 6’3″, and impressive skating. He has good edgework, and solid mobility. His long and smooth skating stride lets him generate good top end speed and he is able to cover a lot of ice in just a few strides. He could improve his first step quickness and his acceleration and will need to work on these aspects in the coming years. He has good agility and balance though, and is fast in his backwards skating as well as his forward skating.”
–Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
Fleury represented Team Western Canada at the World Under-17 Challenge, and was part of Team Canada’s at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the U-18 World Championship. He won gold at the Ivan Hlinka, and bronze at the U-18s, where he was named the tournament’s Best Defenseman.
Risk 1/5, Reward 4/5
A really good second-pairing defenseman.
- Very good defensive instincts.
- Uses body well, in terms of long stride and long reach.
- Developing as a leader in Red Deer.
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
- Could add a bit of aggression or meanness to his game.
- Instincts in offensive zone could use a bit of work.
- First stride could be improved to get him up to speed faster.
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive 7/10, Defensive 8.5/10
NHL Player(s) Comparison:
Ben Lovejoy has a similar frame and body-type, but Fleury is better at this point of his career than Lovejoy was. In terms of defensive skill, Marc-Edouard Vlasic is a better comparison.
When He’ll Go In June:
Fleury will go sometime in the first round.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.