June 19 2014 10:09PM
Name: Haydn Fleury
Junior Team: Red Deer (WHL)
Rankings: NHL CSS - 9th (NA), ISS - 12th, Justin's List - 10th, Bobby's List - 17th
Poor Haydn Fleury. The undisputed second-best defender in the draft (behind Aaron Ekblad of all people), and he's getting such little coverage. As a two-way defender, I can't say it's surprising that Fleury just isn't getting the attention that speedy, skilled forwards like Nikolaj Ehlers, William Nylander, Kevin Fiala and Robby Fabbri get.
Still, the big blueliner is a solid prospect in his own right. Fleury scored eight goals and 46 points in 70 games for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL this past season. Internationally, Fleury picked up a bronze medal at the 2014 IIHF U-18 World Championships, and received 'Best Defenceman' honours for efforts.
Fleury is a big kid, moves the puck with ease, and skates very well. He projects to be at least a top four defencemen and the NHL level, which is nice, and is also expected to continue scoring as a pro, which is even better.
Again, he's the second-best defender available this year. I'd argue that it isn't even close.
There isn't much that is truly 'bad' about Fleury's game, but it might just be that there isn't much that is exceptional or elite, either. There are consistency issues, and Fleury doesn't always use his size to his benefit, but that's generally the case with young defenders.
Is He A Good Choice?
You could do better with the 8th overall pick. Fleury probably goes somewhere between 10th and 15th, and whoever picks him there should be happy to have him. That being said, there's simply just too many potential offensive gamebreakers that project to go top ten.
It just so happens that the Leafs severely lack those types of players, so it looks like Toronto will be able to draft BPA and draft for need by avoiding Fleury.
That being said, I felt the same way when the Leafs drafted Rielly. What the hell do I know?
What Are The Scouts Saying?
"He's got good, strong mobility, great vision and has a knack for making that first good outlet pass. He's composed and calm with the puck and has an ability of knowing when to join the rush at the right moments." - B.J. MacDonald, NHL Central Scouting
"Haydn's an excellent skater who uses it to his advantage very well. He's a smart defender who will transition the puck but is a real steady force on the blue line who steps up when it matters." - Craig Button, TSN Director of Scouting
"A fluid puck rusher who flows instinctively into the attack - almost like a second centerman... able to execute moves at top speeds and has an innate ability to step into and find holes... Fleury oozes potential possessing the size, skill and skating ability to be a dominant NHL point producing defenseman." - McKeen's 2014 NHL Draft Guide
Stupid NHL Comparison
Dion Phaneuf played in Red Deer. So, Dion Phaneuf? Yeah. Dion Phaneuf. Why not?
Justin's NHL Draftbook
Hey, the Draft is like, a week away. Why not brush up on your NHL Entry Draft History and download my 'Draftbook'? A complete history of the draft selections, from 1963 to 2013, in a sortable, filterable Excel format. You can download it here.