Carolina Hurricanes: Haydn Fleury Deserves More Ice Time

Haydn Fleury, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Haydn Fleury, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Haydn Fleury started the season as an extra defender filling in for the then injured TVR and has since grown into something else for the Carolina Hurricanes.

When the season started the Carolina Hurricanes had seven defenders on their NHL roster. Trevor van Riemsdyk, who was injured during playoffs last year, sat out a few games allowing Haydn Fleury to enter the roster.

Fleury, on his first year as a bona-a-fid NHLer, took the opportunity and ran with it. Even while splitting games with TVR, he still managed to find the back of the net for his first NHL goal, tacking on another three in the 45 games he played this year along with ten assists for a nice and comfortable 14 points.

Now take this into consideration, he is doing this while playing on the third pairing and only averaging 13:40 minutes of ice time per game. His progression has been incredible, and the faith in him by coach Brind’amour is growing.

With TVR, Joel Edmundson, and most likely Sami Vatanen all going into the offseason looking for new contracts, it is time for Haydn Fleury to get more ice time. He has not only earned the extra time but has already proven he can contribute more when he gets it.

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In the only match-up against the Pittsburgh Penguins this season (so far), Fleury saw his highest ice time. A whopping 21:24 minutes of ice time. While former Checkers teammate Morgan Geekie was the star of that show, Fleury quietly put together one of the best games of his career with his second multi-point game of the season.

In fact, the more minutes that Fleury gets, the better the team as a whole performs. Now this isn’t much of a snapshot with only 45 games played this season but when Fleury gets at least 16 minutes the team has been 7-3-1. Compare that to when he gets under 10 minutes, you’ll find that the team is only 1-4-1. This is because Fleury is one of the smartest defenders on the team hands down.

While Jaccob Slavin rightfully gets all the attention for his defensive play, Fleury is just a younger version of him and has the capacity to turn into another elite defender for this team. He blocks shots with the best of them and can really turn the corner with the puck and cleanly clear the zone.

There is so much growth still involved with Haydn Fleury. Luckily for the Carolina Hurricanes, he will be an RFA this summer. If Waddell is smart he will lock Fleury into a long term contract with the team and enjoy another elite defender for a bargain price along with Slavin and Brett Pesce.

Question for CC Readers: What kind of contract should Fleury get this offseason?

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