If there is one player among the 40 in Calgary this week for the 2014 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game who can relate to the wintery first day of festivities here, it’s probably Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels. Fleury, who will celebrate his 18th birthday in July, is a prairie boy from Carlyle, Saskatchewan.
Fleury is a rangy, mobile defenseman who has brought a valuable batch of offensive skills to the backend in Red Deer. In his rookie season, he collected 19 points in 66 games, numbers that he has already surpassed this year. Through 43 games, Fleury has tallied six times and added 24 assists in an expanded role with the Rebels. His +13 rating is tops on the team so far this season.
According to NHL Central Scouting, Fleury plays a solid two-way game and is an excellent skater who uses his speed to be effective at both ends of the rink. He is among the best defensemen in the current class at utilizing his skating and puck movement skills to create odd-man opportunities.
Now checking in at 6’3” and 198 pounds, Fleury arrived in Red Deer as the Rebels second round selection, 43rd overall, at the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. This edition of the draft also netted the Rebels forward Connor Bleackley in the first round and Vuki Mpofu in round three. The trio currently forms an important part of the team’s core group. Bleackley is also in Calgary this week with Fleury, with Bleackley skating among the forward group and Fleury patrolling the blueline for Team Cherry.
Prior to arriving in the WHL, Fleury played at the storied Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. His prairie roots appear to run deep enough that to this day, he maintains his fondness and appreciation for the exploits of the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Fleury has played a prominent role in recent years with Hockey Canada as a member of Team West at the 2013 World U17 Hockey Challenge, then winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last August. In the Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings, Fleury is ranked sixth among North American Skaters.
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