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Hurricanes

Canes get defensive at the NHL Draft

Posted June 27
Updated June 28

Haydn Fleury

— The Hurricanes were looking to add size this offseason, and they did so on the blue line selecting Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL Friday night in the NHL Entry Draft.

At 6’2.5” and 203 pounds, Fleury, the second-rated defenseman in the draft, is everything the Hurricanes organization talks about liking at the position.

General Manager Ron Francis was very clear on why Fleury was the pick. “When you are picking at 7, you have to take the guy that helps your organization move forward,” he said.

Francis also made it pretty clear why taking this player was right call for the organization.

"We think he is the type of defenseman you need for today’s game," Francis said.

Fleury did his best to capture the emotion of the pick. "This whole night has just been unreal," he said. "I don't think I've felt my feet for a while. It's been a great experience, and I'm trying to take it all in."

The question with drafting defensemen is always how quickly they be NHL-ready. Francis and Carolina's Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald both said there will be no rush to get Fleury to Raleigh.

“I think normally when you look at defenseman, they take a little longer to develop," Francis said. "We don’t want to rush him at this point.”

"I think he is probably a year or so away from being able to play, maybe even two," MacDonald said. "Sometimes it is amazing what a summer of dedicated conditioning can do. We don’t need to rush him."

Fleury will keep an open mind about how quick he can be an everyday NHL player.

"I'm going to work hard this summer and come into camp and make the best impression I can and try to make it hard on the team to send me back to junior," he said.

He did note that going back to Red Deer wouldn't be discouraging. "At the end of the day, if I get sent back, I'm going to go back and keep working hard and help my junior team win games," he said.

The Hurricanes selection said he was impressed with the team's front office. "They were just all professionals, and they all liked my game. If they have a lot of trust in me and high expectations for me, that's a good thing," Fleury said.

"They have a lot of trust in me, and to take me seventh overall it's a great honor, and I'm going to try to not let them down."

MacDonald detailed the skills that put Fleury at the top of the Canes' board. 

"This is not a draft that is laden with real top-end defensemen. He is a big kid who is an excellent skater. He can move the puck," he said. "The upside here is really unlimited. We think he is just scratching the surface."

Fleury will be at the team's prospect camp and will be playing for the Hurricanes at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich., and will be given a look at training camp.

His point total from last season is more than respectable with 46 points 8 goals, 38 assists in 70 games, and he was a team leader with a plus-15 rating. He has represented Team Canada in international competition and was named the Best Defenseman at the Under-18 World Junior Championships.

It is the offensive side of Fleury's game that is the biggest question.

"Some people question my offensive game," Fleury admitted, "but I am learning more each and every day, trying to produce more offensively will help me get there (to the NHL) quicker."

Other notes on the Hurricanes top pick:

Francis compared him favorably to longtime NHL defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, and Fleury agreed with that assessment, saying his game is similar to Bouwmeester's.

In carrying on with the tradition of selecting high-character people, MacDonald said, "He’s the kid a lot of dads would be proud to call son."

Fleury will turn 18 on July 8.

Carolina has selected a defenseman with the first selection in two of the last four years. In 2011, the organization selected Ryan Murphy.

Former Flyer wins approval of Philly fans

Philadelphia, where the 2014 draft was held, is known for being a tough crowd. Commissioner Gary Bettman was booed without mercy all night.

There was one man who garnered the biggest cheer of the night, and it was not a current member of the Flyers or even their pick. It was Hurricanes assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour. Brind'Amour spent almost nine full seasons in Philadelphia and received a standing ovation from the partisan crowd.

Francis said he planned to have the Philly favorite make the selection all along.

"It was what we hoping for. He deserved that. We talked about this a month ago," Francis said. "I asked Roddy if he'd be willing to come to Philly with us, and I wanted him to make the selection."

Brind'Amour asked Francis if he was sure, "I said absolutely, it was great for him to be here."

4 Comments

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  • wlcat609 Jun 27, 11:41 p.m.

    Canadian website indicates that Fleury is still two years away from the NHL.

  • markmcnc Jun 28, 7:35 a.m.

    The one thing you can't coach is size. We now have some bigger body defensemen in the system. Let's hope Glen can work those guys into the types of guys that can handle the bigger forwards.

  • jdpridg Jun 28, 8:27 a.m.

    Being an instant gratification kinda guy, I was hoping for a more likely immediate impact guy. Getting off my high horse however, I see this kid really developing in a big way. Hope this pick turns out better than previous picks.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Jun 28, 3:27 p.m.

    I'm hoping that in time Fleury's offensive game will catch up to his already evident defensive skill set. He's a good size, and still growing, and seems to have a great attitude and work ethic.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
Final
NYY 5
TOR 2
Final
MIA 1
WAS 2
Final
BAL 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 1
MIL 0
Final
ATL 2
NYM 10
Final
TAM 5
CWS 10
Final
MIN 2
CLE 7
Final
KAN 5
DET 2
Final
HOU 8
SEA 3
Final
CHC 5
LOS 8
Final
ANA 1
TEX 2
Final
OAK 8
PHI 6
Final
COL 8
ARI 3
Final
SDP 8
SFG 2
Final
STL 2
CIN 7
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
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LOS
SFG
 
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
WAS 1
BUF 0
Final
CLB 4
STL 3
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EDM 3
CAL 1
Final
CAL 1
EDM 0
1:30pm Today
NYI
OTT
 
6:00pm Tonight
NYI
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
DET
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
MIN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
ANA
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
COL
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARI
LOS
 
10:30pm Tonight
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ARI
 
Final
CLE 21
BAL 23
Final
STL 31
DAL 34
Final
DET 19
GBP 7
Final
NYG 30
HOU 17
Final
JAC 17
IND 44
Final
NOS 20
MIN 9
Final
NEP 16
OAK 9
Final
BUF 10
SDC 22
Final
CIN 33
TEN 7
Final
PHI 37
WAS 34
Final
ARI 23
SFX 14
Final
SEA 26
DEN 20
Final
MIA 15
KAN 34
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
8:30pm Tonight
NYJ
CHI