The Carolina Hurricanes recently re-signed defenseman Haydn Fleury to a two-year contract, avoiding arbitration in the process. Fleury’s deal carries a $1.3 million AAV and he’ll still be a restricted free agent when it expires in 2022.
This deal is definitely a win for the Hurricanes. The market was almost certainly a factor in terms of the price but even if Fleury only played 45 NHL games last season, $1.3 million is quite low for the value that Fleury brings. Personally, I wouldn’t have been shocked to see his AAV on a two-year deal at just below $2 million.
Considering he’s just 24 years old and has just one full season of NHL experience, a bridge-deal made the most sense for both sides. The Hurricanes aren’t going to want to commit long-term right away, especially considering the depth on the left side of their defense group, while Fleury wouldn’t have got the money he’d be looking for on any long-term deal, based on the small sample size.
We can imagine that Fleury will start on the bottom pairing next year, with Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Jaccob Slavin all but certain to make up the top-four. There’s a chance Fleury will be the more experienced bottom-pairing defenseman, however, with prospect Jake Bean as his potential partner.
That said, factoring in the departures of Joel Edmundson, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Sami Vatanen and with Jake Gardiner being shopped, Fleury will almost certainly get more ice time, after averaging just 13:40 per game last season. By the end of the season, he was also in a far larger role, playing more than 20 minutes in four of his last five regular season games.
With the expansion draft only a year away and the Hurricanes all but guaranteed to lose a young defenseman, whether or not Fleury finishes this contract in Carolina remains to be seen. Regardless though, the Hurricanes got Fleury at a great price for this deal.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Will Haydn Fleury develop into a top-four defenseman?