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The Curious Case Of Maple Leafs and Jani Hakanpaa – The Hockey Writers – Toronto Maple Leafs

A number of hockey insiders lately reported that defenseman Jani Hakanpaa signed a two-year, $3 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even the soon-to-be-defunct CapFriendly has Hakanpaa on the Leafs’ roster. Nevertheless, issues are actually rising concerning the validity of this signing resulting from a critical knee damage Hakanpaa sustained earlier this yr.

Not solely is it not identified if Hakanpaa is formally signed, however Mark Masters of TSN emphasised these issues throughout an look on SC with Jay Onrait, noting the shortage of affirmation concerning Hakanpaa’s standing with the Leafs. If the hulking d-man is part of the Leafs’ group, there are questions in regards to the group’s decision-making in free company.

Is Hakanpaa Coming to Toronto or Not?

When it was first introduced, Maple Leafs followers had been thrilled with the addition of Hakanpaa, a big-body defenseman identified for his bodily presence. As GM Brad Treliving appeared to reshape the blue line — together with the signing of Chris Tanev and Oliver Ekman-Larsson — and make them tougher to play in opposition to, Hakinpaa was a giant a part of that puzzle.

Nevertheless, doubts have now grown about Hakanpaa’s standing for this upcoming season.

Masters emphasised these issues, noting that they requested an interview with the defenseman, however had been instructed to carry their horses as a result of the group hadn’t made the signing official but. The shortage of affirmation concerning Hakanpaa’s signing confirms the intense nature of a knee damage and, on the very least, the Leafs are getting extra info to make sure the participant is sweet to go. Masters identified that Hakanpaa hasn’t performed since mid-March, lacking the playoffs with the Dallas Stars. This has left a big query mark over his health.

Jani Hakanpaa, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“If he is ready to play, they usually make that signing official, he’ll assist a penalty kill that was twenty third total final season and actually killed them early in that playoff sequence in opposition to Boston,” Masters stated. The Maple Leafs’ penalty kill was a crucial weak spot final season, and Hakanpaa’s potential contribution on this space was seen as a big increase. If he’s not in a position to play, then what?

This Hakanpaa Knee State of affairs May Be Worse Than Folks Assume

Toronto columnist Steve Simmons additional fueled hypothesis about Hakanpaa’s well being. In accordance with Simmons, sources have indicated extreme purple flags concerning Hakanpaa’s knee situation, suggesting that he may by no means play within the NHL once more. He elaborated, stating, “I used to be instructed that his bone-on-bone knee was apparently shot. I used to be instructed — from two sources — that they didn’t assume that any group would signal him.”

Associated: What to Count on From New Maple Leafs Defenceman Philippe Myers

Nevertheless, whereas Masters says there isn’t a affirmation on Hakanpaa’s standing, Simmons reported that the Leafs’ medical group examined Hakanpaa and gave him the OK. Simmons defined, “I requested the Leafs about this. They stated their medical doctors cleared him to be signed. We’ll discover out within the fall – or later – whether or not he can play once more.” Stars Normal Supervisor Jim Nill confirmed that Hakanpaa underwent an arthroscopic process on his knee after the season, however was not anticipated to require additional surgical procedures. So why are the Leafs being so hush-hush about issues?

Both approach, all of this has obtained to be regarding for the Maple Leafs and the fan base. Not precisely the quickest defenseman on this planet, a nagging knee subject will surely sluggish Hakanpaa, 32, down greater than earlier than. He had a productive season with the Stars earlier than his damage, recording 10 objectives and 10 assists in 64 video games whereas averaging 18:38 of ice time. However, how will lingering points have an effect on his recreation?

The uncertainty surrounding Hakanpaa’s well being casts an extended shadow over his signing. If the Maple Leafs are taking their time with this and ensuring he’s totally wholesome earlier than they decide to this signing, that’s the suitable play. If he’s already signed and the group merely isn’t saying it as a result of they wish to present an replace on his well being on the identical time, did the Maple Leafs simply step right into a world of bother?

If Hakanpaa’s knee points persist, the Leafs may discover themselves in a precarious scenario, much like the one they confronted with John Klingberg. Followers understand how effectively that signing turned out.

Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown
Olivia Brown specializes in soccer, covering MLS, NWSL, and international competitions. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Sports Media. Olivia has written for and ESPN FC, providing thorough coverage and in-depth analysis of the sport.


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