2014 NHL Draft Prospects: Haydn Fleury, Jared McCann

Fleury, Haydn – LD – Red Deer Rebels (WHL) – 6’3” 204

Fleury is a physical, good skating defenseman who received more and more ice time as the season went along, and eventually was out on the ice to play against the opponent’s top lines on a nightly basis. Fleury’s game at both ends is quite impressive for his age, and is well on his way to be a top defenseman in the WHL.

For his size, Fleury has exceptional skating abilities. He has very good speed, and his footwork in tight areas is exceptional. He can maintain a very tight gap off the rush and use his reach to angle opponents to the boards and poke away pucks to create turnovers. He can still learn to take better angles on opposing forwards to take away any sort of offensive opportunities. Fleury plays a physical game, and is very difficult to play against on a consistent basis. He is very strong along the walls, and because of his speed and size, he rarely ever has to hook or trip players to prevent them from having a scoring opportunity. He does not take undisciplined penalties, and understands that he is more valuable to his team when he is out on the ice and not in the penalty box.

Offensively, Fleury is an above average puck mover. He can still improve on his passes out of the zone and allow his team to break out smoothly. He is not afraid to carry the puck himself into the offensive zone and provide another weapon on the rush. He has a good shot from the point, but needs to work on getting it through traffic or having a shorter back swing on his slap shots to get shots off more quickly when necessary. He does not possess elite vision or skills, but has shown that he can handle the puck well enough.

Fleury definitely has all the tools to become an NHL player one day. He still has improvements to make in his game, but much of that comes from more experience. He projects as a top 4 shut down defenseman as his offensive game is not exceptional, but he could certainly fill in some PP time when necessary. He will be counted on to play even more minutes next season, and Fleury will have an excellent opportunity to further raise his draft stock for 2014.