The Carolina Hurricanes will rely on Haydn Fleury in the playoffs
Haydn Fleury has made an undeniable case that he should be a top defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes going into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Some Caniacs might have had trouble predicting that Hadyn Fleury would rise from the depths of the blueline to come into his own as a Carolina Hurricane in the absence of Dougie Hamilton, but I believe that Fleury is just what the team needs in a defenseman coming into the playoffs.
Although Fleury was selected in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Carolina Hurricanes, he has not seen as much NHL time as one may imagine. He spent most of his time with the Charlotte Checkers with a few brief appearances for the Hurricanes before making his mark this season when the team was thrown into chaos after the injury of Dougie Hamilton.
Fleury’s average time on ice for the first 35 games he played of the 2019-2020 season was just over 12 minutes. The last 10 games of the season, Fleury averaged over 18 minutes on the ice per game. In four of these games, Fleury logged over 20 minutes on the ice.
While Brind’Amour has said correctly that “”No one guy is going to able to replace what he brings to us, what Dougie does . . . It was going to be by committee”, Fleury has made sure that he is one of the leading members of this committee. The increased ice time indicates that Brind’Amour recognizes Fleury’s value in the lineup.
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Fleury’s Corsi For % for the 2019 season is 54.4 % so far. I expect this number to continue to improve as his minutes increase and as he grows comfortable in his position with the team.
Fleury also has a wicked slapshot, and scored three of his four-season goals behind the faceoff circle with absolute lasers. Fleury has not been an offensive threat since his time with the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL; however, I believe that as he becomes more comfortable in his position with the Hurricanes his offensive skill will start to flourish.
Fleury was initially paired with Joel Edmunson but ended the season playing with newcomer Brady Skjei. I think this arrangement is beneficial for both players and I hope to see it continue into the playoffs. Both players average high ice time, which makes the pair perfect for long stretches in the playoffs.
Fleury and Skjei both find themselves fighting for their place in the Cane’s blueline, which also lends an excellent argument for the pair because both players will contribute to the desperation that is so essential for the Canes to take away a series victory against the New York Rangers.
I don’t envy Brind’Amour when he has to make the decision of who to scratch when Brett Pesce returns from injury. While I think he will probably choose the correct decision to rotate the scratch like he did earlier in the season, I think Fleury has made a strong case to be included in the lineup.
This years’ unique playoff series will give Fleury a chance to continue to make his mark on the Canes. Fleury has taken his position in the lineup seriously, and I have no doubt this year’s discovery of Fleury as a top blueliner will climax with a stellar performance in the playoffs.