As first reported by Pierre LeBrun, the Hurricanes swung a last-minute deadline deal Monday and completed their search for a right-handed defenseman, adding Jani Hakanpaa and a sixth-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Haydn Fleury.
This is Hakanpaa’s first full season in the NHL; he’s played 42 games for the Ducks this year with one assist. The Finn should definitely bring a physical presence to the Canes’ blue line, with 168 hits and 65 blocked shots this season.
The trade brings Fleury’s Hurricanes career to an end. After being drafted seventh overall in the 2014 draft, Fleury made his NHL debut with the Hurricanes in the 2017-18 season, his first of four seasons (including this one) in Carolina.
Fleury became a bit of a fan favorite as he continued to develop and added a physical presence to his game, along with his strong skating. Fleury scored five goals and 24 points in 167 games as a Hurricane.
Often a victim of the Hurricanes’ deep, talented blue line, Fleury often found himself the odd-man out on the blue line. The highlight of his time in Carolina was his play in the Toronto bubble last year, when he was the Canes’ best player in the team’s five-game series loss to the Boston Bruins, adding a physical presence and scoring two goals.
The deal could also have been made with the expansion draft in mind; as the first draft pick of Ron Francis’ time in Carolina, Fleury would have been a likely target for the Seattle Kraken.
Hakanpaa will help balance the Hurricanes’ defensive pairings a bit better, as the team now has four defensemen who shoot left in Jaccob Slavin, Brady Skjei, Jake Gardiner and Jake Bean and three who shoot right in Hakanpaa, Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce.
Hakanpaa will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
The official release from the team follows:
‘CANES ACQUIRE HAKANPAA FROM DUCKS
Fleury traded to Anaheim
RALEIGH, N.C. – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has acquired defenseman Jani Hakanpaa and a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft in exchange for defenseman Haydn Fleury.
“Jani is a big, physical defenseman,” said Waddell. “As a right-shot, he will be an ideal partner for an offensive-minded, left-handed blueliner.”
Hakanpaa, 29, has tallied one assist in 42 NHL games with the Ducks this season, ranking third among all NHL skaters in hits (168). The 6’5”, 218-pound defenseman has registered two points (1g, 1a) in 47 career NHL games, all with Anaheim. Hakanpaa has posted 33 points (7g, 26a) in 179 career AHL games with Peoria, Chicago and San Diego. He has also recorded 81 points (25g, 56a) in 298 career Liiga (Finland) games with Blues and Karpat. Hakanpaa was teammates with Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho on Karpat during the 2015-16 season. The Kirkkonummi, Finland, native represented his home country at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2019 IIHF World Championship, winning gold in 2019. Hakanpaa was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fourth round, 104th overall, of the 2010 NHL Draft.
Fleury, 24, has scored one goal in 35 games with Carolina this season. The 6’3”, 208-pound defenseman has registered 24 points (5g, 19a) in 167 career NHL regular-season games with the Hurricanes and has added two goals in 17 NHL playoff games. The Carlyle, Sask., native was selected by Carolina in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2014 NHL Draft.