The Vegas Golden Knights have placed Mikael Hakkarainen on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a mutual contract termination, according to CapFriendly. Hakkarainen was the sole return for Marc-Andre Fleury in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this summer, though even the press release at the time indicated that he would remain with the Rockford IceHogs instead of joining the Henderson Silver Knights. Now he won’t even be under contract with the Golden Knights, becoming an unrestricted free agent when the termination goes through tomorrow.
Hakkarainen, 23, had one year left on his entry-level contract but had struggled to find playing time in the Blackhawks minor league system. This season he split the year between the Indy Fuel of the ECHL and Rockford, playing six games for each. In those contests, the fifth-round pick recorded just a single assist. His time in the AHL could be over, as he failed to score a single point in 14 games for the IceHogs since joining them in 2019.
He will be free to sign anywhere, though it’s unclear where his professional future lies at this point. A return to Finland perhaps, though he hasn’t played there since the 2014-15 campaign. Hakkarainen was the 139th overall pick in 2018, after spending two seasons in the USHL.
With Hakkarainen now set for release, the Golden Knights officially have nothing but cap space to show for the Fleury trade.