The draft had pretty much gone as expected when Carolina came to the stage to announce their first round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, and new GM Ron Francis continued to blaze his own trail by taking defenseman Haydn Fleury with the seventh overall pick.
Fleury, a WHL defenseman with Red Deer, is a 6-2, 203-pound blueliner known for his all-around game, including being an excellent skater for his size. McKeen’s Hockey ranked Fleury as the fifth-best offensive defenseman and fourth-best defensive rear guard in this year's class and he was a consensus top-10 pick by nearly every scouting service.
Francis' predecessor, Jim Rutherford, had made a point of rarely using first round picks on defenseman, but Francis opted to go with Fleury, a native of Regina, Sask., who had eight goals and 38 assists for 46 points in 70 games with the Rebels in 2013-14.
We'll have more on Fleury, including hopefully some quotes, soon.