2008-09: Jani Hakanpaa played for the Kiekko-Vantaa U-18 club in the Junior “B” I division. In 9 games, he scored 2 goals and added 4 assists for 6 points.
2009-10: Played for the Kiekko-Vantaa team U-18 team at the Junior “B” SM level. In 23 games, Hakanpaa scored 2 goals and added 12 assists for 14 points. Hakanpaa played for Finland’s U-18 WJC team.. He was a Top-3 Player on Team (according to coaches). Played on the first unit on the U-18 team. In 6 games, he scored 1 goal and added 1 assist for 2 points.
2010-11: Hakanpaa made great strides playing for Espoo Blues’ junior team in his first season at the U20 level. He scored 3 goals with 20 assists and 61 PMs in 36 games. In 12 playoff games he had 3 goals with 2 assists and 10 PMs as Blues captured the silver medal at the U20 level.
2011-12: Hakanpaa enjoyed a successful rookie season in Finland’s SM-Liiga before suffering a season-ending knee injury in February. He was also impressive playing for Finland at the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship. Hakanpaa was plus-six with 30 penalty minutes in 41 games for Espoo Blues and scored 5 goals with 7 assists. Espoo finished eighth in the 14-team league. He was an assistant captain for fourth-place Finland at the WJC and was plus-three with 1 goal and 2 assists in seven games. He also appeared in five early season games for Espoo’s U20 team and was plus-three with 4 assists. Hakanpaa signed a three-year entry-level contract with St. Louis in May, 2012.
2012-13: Hakanpaa made his North American pro hockey debut in March, joining St. Louis AHL affiliate Peoria following his SM-Liiga season with Espoo. In 14 AHL games he scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was an even plus/minus with 6 penalty minutes. The Rivermen missed the AHL playoffs after finishing last in the Midwest Division. Hakanpaa played 34 games for Espoo, missing five weeks after suffering an upper body injury in November. He scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was +2 with 34 penalty minutes. Blues missed the SM-Liiga playoffs; finishing 12th in the 14-team SM-Liiga.
Already a giant on draft day at 6'4", 218 pounds, Hakanpaa projects as a solid two-way defenseman. His defensive game is sound and he is more than willing to play the physical game. While he skates fairly well for a player his size, it is an area that could be improved. He has room to grow offensively as well.
Hakanpaa made his way over to North America in 2012-13 and it proved to pay off. His offensive output was at the best pace of his career, and he has the size to be a force at the professional level. If his skating and offensive abilities continue to improve in 2013-14, Hakanpaa could become a reliable defenseman at the NHL level.