There are two defensemen ranked in the top 10 heading into this year’s NHL Draft. The first, of course, is Aaron Ekblad, who finished 2nd overall in final rankings from Central Scouting. But there’s also Haydn Fleury, ranked ninth heading into the draft at the end of this month, and any teams who are interested in picking up a blueliner should give Fleury a solid look.
The Red Deer Rebels blueliner is a sizeable young defenseman who already has an impressive two-way game. This season saw Fleury put up 46 points, including 38 assists, in 70 games. He’s also just 17 years old and already 6-3, and he knows how to use his size to his advantage.
What Will A Team Get If They Draft Him?
Haydn Fleury has already made an impact in the WHL as well as on the international stage. He played for Canada Western in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge and won gold with the Canada U-18 team at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. This season, he was named an assistant captain for the Rebels and participated in the Top Prospects Game.
Some of his top skills are said to include his two-way game and his skating ability. His size is also a factor — as I said earlier, he’s only 17 and already 6-3, 198 pounds.
His puck movement skills and ability to play a physical game are other highlights noted by scouts and writers. He plays big minutes and can be a presence on the power play.
His Underrated Skill
Sometimes big, physical players have trouble in the speed department, but that isn’t the case for Fleury. In fact, NHL Central Scouting notes how he is able to use his speed to be effective at both ends of the rink, improving his two-way game.
There’s a reason this kid is 6-3, racks up big minutes every night and still manages to notch 46 points and a plus-15 on the season. His two-way game is so strong, he finished third in assists on the Rebels (behind Conner Bleackley and Rhyse Dieno) and fourth in points on the team overall.
What Needs To Be Worked On?
There’s always room for improvement, of course. If Fleury can continue to work on his two-way game and further embrace the leadership role he’s been given in Red Deer, there could be great things ahead for the young defenseman. He turns 18 just over a week after the 2014 NHL Draft – what a great birthday present – and can only continue to mature both and on and off the ice as time goes on.