No doubt spurred by the discussion that was taking place simultaneously in the Canes Country slack (Fleury fans owe Ryan a big thank you), the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night signed RFA defenseman to a two-year deal with a $1.3-million AAV, as first reported by Pierre LeBrun.
Fleury, along with forward Warren Foegele was one of two remaining players on the Hurricanes who had field for salary arbitration; the Hurricanes avoid a hearing with this signing.
Drafted seventh overall in the 2014 draft, Fleury has played 132 games with the Hurricanes over three seasons, scoring four goals and 23 points.
Throughout last season, Fleury was a victim of a numbers game with the Hurricanes’ deep blue line, playing in just 45 of 68 games. After Dougie Hamilton’s injury, Fleury found a more consistent spot in the lineup and started playing more and more minutes down the stretch, playing some of the best hockey of his career.
Haydn Fleury, signed 2x$1.3M, is a two-way defenceman who has done extremely well in a very limited role for the Hurricanes in the past two seasons. pic.twitter.com/HBpAd3QgN7— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) October 27, 2020
Once the league returned to play in its postseason bubbles, Fleury earned a spot in camp through another blue line log jam, and stepped up big time in the playoffs.
During the five-game loss to the Burins, Fleury was arguably the Canes’ best player, scoring two goals and provided a physical presence all series.
Haydn Fleury throws a big hit, and Boston ends up taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the aftermath. pic.twitter.com/tZ9yoC7Xcp— Brett Finger (@brett_finger) August 14, 2020
“We’ve had some pretty good D playing ahead of him,” Rod Brind’Amour said during the playoffs. But he’s handled it really well. When he finally did get his opportunity, he’s taken it now and he’s starting to really show that he belongs. I think he’s just going to keep getting better.”
Similar play to the Boston series could make this contract another steal for Don Waddell and friends.
Barring a trade, Fleury gives the Hurricanes six NHL defensemen under contract for next season, joining Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Jake Gardiner.
The Hurricanes now have about $3 million in cap space left, with fellow RFA Warren Foegele still to sign. Foegele’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4.
The release from the Hurricanes about the Fleury signing follows:
‘CANES SIGN HAYDN FLEURY TO TWO-YEAR DEAL
Defenseman set career highs in goals, assists and points last season
RALEIGH, NC – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed defenseman Haydn Fleury to a two-year contract. The deal will pay Fleury an average-annual value (AAV) of $1.3 million per season through 2021-22.
“Haydn made a huge leap in his development last season and established himself as an everyday NHL defenseman,” said Waddell. “He was very dependable late in the regular season and in the playoffs, and we look forward to him continuing his development into an elite NHL defenseman.”
Fleury, 24, recorded 14 points (4g, 10a) in 45 games with the Hurricanes last season. The 6’3”, 208-pound defenseman set career highs in goals, assists and points and scored his first career NHL goal at Anaheim (10/18). Fleury ranked fifth on the team in blocked shots (45) and third among team defensemen in hits (48) in 2019-20. The Carlyle, Sask., native was selected by the Hurricanes in the first round, seventh overall, in the 2014 NHL Draft and has registered 23 points (4g, 19a) in 132 career NHL games with Carolina.