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 Haydn Fleury, whom the Kraken selected from the Anaheim Ducks.
2020-21 NHL Teams: Carolina Hurricanes and Anaheim Ducks
2020-21 Season: Haydn Fleury split time between the Hurricanes and Ducks organizations last season. He had three goals and one assist in 47 games.
Type Of Acquisition: Expansion Draft
The 2020-21 season was a difficult one for Fleury. He was part of a stacked Hurricanes d-core and was only averaging 13:36 per game. He wasn’t given an opportunity on special teams and was a bottom pairing defenseman for most of the season.
On April 21, that all changed with a trade to the Ducks. He was given an opportunity to play top-pairing minutes as well as time on the penalty kill. Fleury showed he could play 20 minutes a game with relative success. Despite only playing 12 games, he managed more goals and assists than he did in 35 games with Carolina.
What Type of Player is Fleury?
Fleury is a strong, two-way defenseman with offensive upside. He does well in his own zone and can play that physical brand of hockey needed in the Pacific Divison. Last season, he had 221 hits and 215 blocked shots in 179 career NHL games.
Although Fleury has not produced at the NHL level from a statistical point of view, his analytics are excellent. He can get the puck on net, as evident by his 46.3% career shots through percentage, and can generate scoring opportunities. Last season, he generated 28 scoring chances, with four of them being high danger opportunities. He was also able to generate five rebounds. When put into offensive situations, he has shown he can create chances. Look for him to continue to generate offense next season with the Kraken.
Fleury’s Ties to the Organization
Fleury has some ties to the Kraken organization. The first one is in his brother, Cale. Seattle selected Cale Fleury from the Montréal Canadiens. Both players can play either side, which could set up a Fleury-Fleury pairing this season or in the future.
The other tie is in general manager Ron Francis. When he was the GM of Carolina, his first selection ever was Hayden. Now seven years later, history repeats itself as Francis once again picked Fleury to join his organization.
Expectations this Season
Fleury should be in the Opening Day Lineup, but minutes will be challenging to come by. The Kraken are very deep on the blue line, especially when it comes to defensemen who play on the penalty kill. If he finds chemistry with a player like Adam Larsson, it could mean elevated minutes, but he will need to earn them through preseason play.
The question is, does Seattle try him out on the power play? He has some success in junior but has not been given the opportunity in the NHL. Based on his ability to generate chances, one would think he gets an opportunity but would have to outshine players like Vince Dunn and Mark Giordano to get the opportunity.
A Solid Selection
Picking Fleury in the Expansion Draft was a smart decision by the Kraken. Based on the Ducks protected list, he has the greatest potential. Seattle could have gone with a veteran like Kevin Shattenkirk or Adam Henrique, but those players own long-term contracts with high cap hits. Selecting Fleury not only allows them to have a strong defenceman this season but hopefully one that can produce for the next decade.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at https://www.area51sportsnetwork.com/ where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.