Bad news confirmed for Jani Hakanpaa and the Toronto Maple Leafs

Elliot Ben Jacob
July 2, 2024  (12:10)

Former Dallas Stars player Jani Hakanpaa.
Photo credit: Yardbarker

The Toronto Maple Leafs, fresh off a new signing spree, have added Chris Tanev to their roster with a six-year deal, while Jani Hakanpaa's NHL future is up in the air.

The Maple Leafs made headlines during the NHL's free agency by securing defenseman Chris Tanev with a six-year contract. Tanev's addition is expected to strengthen the team's defensive line, providing much-needed grit and leadership. Analysts believe Tanev will play a crucial role in the Leafs' backend, complementing their style of play perfectly.
In addition to Tanev, the Maple Leafs signed Jani Hakanpaa to a two-year deal worth $1.5 million. However, recent reports cast a shadow over Hakanpaa's career due to a severe knee injury. Hakanpaa, previously teammates with Tanev on the Dallas Stars, missed the last 13 regular-season games and the entire playoff run due to his injury. There is currently no timeline for his return to the ice.
"A year ago, maybe two years ago, Hakanpaa would have factored rather nicely on the Leafs defence. He's a giant of a man at 6-foot-7, popular in the room, that great hockey vernacular, and a penalty-killer beyond compare. But one with a knee so bad that some think — although the Leafs disagree — that he may never play again.

The Leafs signed him to play but many doubt he will. It's said to be bone-on-bone with not much knee left. It's said to be trouble. Two years ago, Hakanpaa was playing 18 minutes for the Stars. He might have played his last NHL game in March. If he plays again, plays at all for the Leafs, it will shock those who were around in recent seasons."

The report by Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun highlights the grim reality facing Hakanpaa. With concerns that his knee condition might prevent him from playing again, the decision to sign him has raised eyebrows. Despite the Leafs' optimism, many doubt Hakanpaa's ability to return to the NHL.
This injury could have huge implications for the Maple Leafs, as since they have just signed Hakanpaa, he'd have to be sidelined for a long time and the investment will have been for nothing.
"Simmons can certainly be hit or miss with his information, so it remains to be seen whether he's right on this one."

As the situation develops, fans and analysts alike will be closely watching the Leafs' defensive strategies and Hakanpaa's potential recovery. The Leafs' season and Treliving's management decisions are under scrutiny as they navigate these uncertain waters.