Maple Leafs reportedly sign Jani Hakanpaa to 2-year deal worth $1.5M AAV

Photo credit:Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Arun Srinivasan
12 days ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed defenceman Jani Hakanpaa to a two-year contract worth $1.5 million annually, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
TSN’s Darren Dreger was the first to report Hakanpaa signing with the Maple Leafs
Hakanpaa joins his former Stars teammate Chris Tanev among Toronto’s newest acquisitions on the blue line. Oliver Ekman-Larsson also joined the Maple Leafs on a four-year deal worth $3.5 million annually.
The 32-year-old recorded two goals and 12 points in 64 regular season games, adding a goal and two points in 15 playoff contests for the Stars. Hakanpaa is a coveted right-shot defenceman who will fit into Brad Treliving’s plans to revise and augment Toronto’s defense corps.
Hakanpaa is exactly the type of defenceman Treliving appears to covet. He’s massive, towering over opponents at 6-foot-7, 222 pounds with crushing physicality. He’s an average skater but he’s an excellent penalty killer and will likely be part of a revamped unit that struggled under Sheldon Keefe’s tutelage. Craig Berube is clearly putting a lot of value into physicality and versatility on the blue line and with Hakanpaa on board, this is a better unit than the 2024 blue line.
Dallas controlled just over 50 percent of the expected goals at 5-on-5 when Hakanpaa was on the ice last season via Natural Stat Trick and it appears likely that he’s slot into a third pair role with the Maple Leafs. He’s not going to contribute much offensively but he’s a smart positionally sound player coming from a Stars team that had Stanley Cup aspirations for the past five years.
Hakanpaa did not play in the playoffs with his season effectively ending after suffering a lower-body injury that required an arthroscopic procedure in March. He’s expected to make a full return to action this fall and will be expected to provide a new, physical element with sound zone exits for the Maple Leafs.

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