In anticipation of the Seattle Kraken‘s inaugural season, we at The Hockey Writers will be doing a deep dive on each player. This installment of the series focuses on defenseman Cale Fleury, whom the Kraken selected from the Montréal Canadiens.
2020-21 Team: Montréal Canadiens/Laval Rocket
2020-21 Season: Fleury spent much of 2019-20 with the Canadiens, but he struggled to earn a spot on a deeper blueline this past season and spent it with the American Hockey League’s Laval Rocket. Although he failed to register a goal, Fleury put up six assists in 22 games. The 2017 87th overall pick also had a plus/minus rating of +9. He did spend the NHL playoffs as a black ace with the Canadiens, but did not receive any playing time.
Type of Acquisition: Fleury was selected by the Seattle Kraken during the expansion draft.
Fleury’s Pre-Kraken Career
Fleury was drafted 87th overall to the Kootenay Ice in the 2013 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, and spent three full seasons with the team. In his third full season with Kootenay, he was named team captain and scored 11 goals and 38 points in 70 games. Early in the 2017-18 season, he was traded from the rebuilding Ice to the Regina Pats, who hoped to make a deep playoff run. Between the two teams, Fleury managed 12 goals and 51 points in 68 games in his final junior season.
Fleury was signed to a three-year entry level contract with the Canadiens in 2018, a year after he was drafted in the third round. His first professional season, 2018-19, was spent entirely with the Rocket, where be played very well. He scored nine goals and 23 points in 60 games. In 2019-20, Fleury surprisingly made the Canadiens’ NHL roster out of training camp and played 41 NHL games. The rest of his season was spent with Laval, where he scored two goals and 5 points in 14 games. Fleury scored his first NHL goal against the New Jersey Devils on November 16, 2019, his only NHL point to date.
Following a solid 2020-21 campaign with Laval, Fleury was left exposed in the expansion draft and was selected by the Seattle Kraken. He was recently signed to a one-year, two-way contract.
Fleury’s Kraken Expectations
Fleury will likely not crack the Kraken’s NHL lineup right away. Though he remains a good prospect, Seattle already has one of the deepest bluelines in the league. The 22-year old rearguard will be hard-pressed to earn a spot.
With that said, Fleury could surprise people with a strong training camp, much like he did in 2019 with Montréal. He is a very physical player with some skill, and could bolster Seattle’s third pairing if necessary. If injuries hit the Seattle blueline, Fleury will be one of the first call ups, and he could take the opportunity and run with it.
Was Selecting Fleury a Hit or a Miss?
Fleury was a decent pick for Seattle GM Ron Francis to make. Former MVP goaltender Carey Price was left exposed, but his age, injury history, and exorbitant contract made him a sizable risk. Francis also could have gone with left wing Jonathan Drouin, but it is hard to know how the already inconsistent Drouin will look following a lengthy personal leave of absence last season. Defenseman Brett Kulak probably would have been the ideal pick, as he is a well-established NHL defender at a cheap cap hit, but Fleury is not far behind. If Fleury can blossom into a legitimate NHL defenseman, comparable to or even better than Kulak, he will have been a great pick for the Kraken.
Jake is a reliable source for the Seattle Kraken here at The Hockey Writers. Hailing from New York City, he is an avid fan of all things hockey and is always involved with the sport, whether that means writing, watching, or playing. An enthusiastic advocate for sports analytics, Jake will often weave them into his posts to support his ideas. More of his work can be found on his Substack page, and he is a contributor with @hky_tapetalk on Instagram. For any questions or inquiries, Jake can be contacted on his Twitter, @jakezrihen.