NHL Draft Profile: Haydn Fleury
A true two-way defenseman is a premium in the NHL these days, and Haydn Fleury plays that type of game. Actually, you could say he plays it very well.
On a Red Deer Rebels squad that struggled to score goals this season, Fleury's ability to join the rush and create offense almost became a necessity. He's an extremely mobile defenseman and, as mentioned above, is a threat whenever he jumps up into the play - but scouts don't want you to get him confused with a natural scorer (something about taking care of your own end first).
Where he excels in the offensive part of the game is finding the open man on the rush or inside the zone. Fleury scored some goals this season, but one of the most impressive numbers on his offensive resume is 38, signifying his total assists this season.
Fleury is known to make a strong first passes out of the defensive zone, a characteristic that many (if not all) of the NHL's best defensemen possess.
He appeared in four games for the Rebels in 2011-12 - a brief audition, one might say - before playing in his first full season in the WHL in 2012-13. During his rookie season, he was the club's third-highest scoring defenseman, recording 19 points in a season that saw Red Deer advance into the second round of the WHL playoffs.
Before returning to the Rebels for his second full WHL season, Fleury competed with Canada’s gold-medal winning U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
This past season, he was named an assistant captain for the Rebels, and ranked 17th among all WHL defensemen in points with 46.
The Blue Jackets have a handful of solid young defensemen in their system, but there's always room for a player like Fleury. His wide-ranging skill set (skating, first pass, reliability in all three zones) will make him an attractive commodity in the top half of the draft, where many NHL draft experts have projected him to go.
Here’s what ISS Hockey had to say about Haydn Fleury:
"One of the elite shutdown defenders; logs big minutes and a vital leader in Red Deer."