Additional news surfaces about new Leafs defenseman Jani Hakanpaa

Ryan Smitheram
July 3, 2024  (9:49)

Jani Hakanpaa is dealing with a knee issue
Photo credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Reports surfaced yesterday that new Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jani Hakanpaa has some severe knee issues that may prevent him from ever playing again.

Hakanpaa, 32, signed a two-year deal with the Leafs on July 1st that will carry a cap hit of $1.5M per season. The 6'7, 220-pound right-shot blueliner is as physical as they come and is an excellent penalty killer, which is an area that Leafs GM Brad Treliving wanted to address this off-season.
On the 'Real Kyper and Bourne' show yesterday, Nick Kypreos dove further into the reports of Hakanpaa's knee issues and provided more insight, including the fact that Dallas was willing to pay Ilya Lyubushkin double Hakanpaa's salary to replace him because of their concerns about it.
"The only thing that I would tell you is that you got to really believe the Leafs knew about it and checked it out and had their doctors look into it. Maybe they had their own physical on him or they took a report on it. I got to think they checked it through and through and were comfortable to give him not just a one-year deal, but a two-year deal. That second year is significant for them," said Kypreos. "The other thing that kind of concerns me from afar. They (Dallas) let this guy go who's 6'7, 230, 31 or 32-years-old and they let him go and they replaced him with a guy they paid twice as much for...They were willing to pay another guy $3.5M over a guy they could have had for $1.5M or $2M... Dallas was not comfortable with his knee. That I know for a fact. That they thought it wasn't just a doctor going in there and cleaning it up. That there were issues that left him questionable."

The Hockey News' David Alter also pointed out that the Leafs haven't formally announced Hakanpaa's signing yet and he does not appear on their current roster on their website, while Dakota Mermis, who was signed yesterday, does.
The Leafs did something similar last season when they signed another former Dallas Stars defenseman in John Klingberg to a 1-year deal worth $4.15M. That deal was of significantly more concern given the known health issues Klingberg had faced in his career and he ultimately ended up on LTIR for the season and underwent hip surgery.
It will be something to keep a close eye on to see how the rest of the off-season unfolds and whether or not the Leafs provide more clarity on Hakanpaa's injury and status.
Source: The Hockey News
What's the word with new defenseman Jani Hakpanaa's knee injury
Additional news surfaces about new Leafs defenseman Jani Hakanpaa

Will Hakanpaa play this season?

Yes33456.7 %
No13022.1 %
He's Klingberg 2.012521.2 %
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