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Hakanpaa's status 'a big question mark' for Maple Leafs


Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving mentioned Jani Hakanpaa among the team's signings on July 1, but more than a week later, no official announcement has been made.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported Hakanpaa reached a two-year, $3 million contract, but it appears concern is growing about a knee injury suffered earlier this year.

"That's of course raised red flags that we haven't had confirmation because of the knee injury he had at the end of last season," TSN's Mark Masters said Monday on SC with Jay Onrait. "He didn't play in the playoffs [with the Dallas Stars], he hasn't played since mid-March. So, that's a big question mark.

"If he is able to play, and they make that signing official, he'll help a penalty kill that was 23rd overall last season and really killed them early in that playoff series against Boston."

The 32-year-old Hakanpaa had 10 goals and 10 assists in 64 games with the Stars last season prior to the injury, averaging 18:38 of ice time. Stars general manager Jim Nill confirmed after the season that Hakanpaa had an arthroscopic procedure on his knee, but was not expected to require any additional surgeries. 

Selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the St. Louis Blues, the Finnish blueliner didn't make his NHL debut until the 2019-20 season with the Anaheim Ducks. He has 15 goals and 45 points in 288 games with the Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes and Stars. 

If Hakanpaa does join the Maple Leafs, he will be competing for a spot on the blueline, with CapFriendly currently projecting eight other defencemen on the roster. Morgan Rielly, Chris Tanev, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Timothy Liljegren, Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit all appear to be locks for opening-day roster, while Hakanpaa could be battling for a spot with rookie Conor Timmins and free-agent signee Dakota Mermis