The Anaheim Ducks officially announced their contract with Anthony Stolarz today, but also had some more news for their fans. Jani Hakanpaa has signed a one-year contract with the team marking his return to North America after four years with Karpat of the Finnish Liiga. Eric Stephens of The Athletic reports the deal is for $850K and is a one-way contract.
Originally a draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, Hakanpaa played three years in the minor leagues between 2012-15 but failed to catch on in the NHL. After returning to Finland though, the 27-year old continued his development and last season recorded 11 goals and 23 points in 52 games. Most notably, he was part of the gold medal-winning team at the most recent World Championship, showing that he could defend well against NHL players from around the league.
The 6’5″ defenseman has led Liiga in plus/minus for two consecutive seasons, and was a huge part of Karpat going to back-to-back league championships (winning once). While he doesn’t provide a ton of upside, the Ducks needed to add some depth for this season as they had just nine defensemen under contract in the whole organization. Only two of those names were right-handed, meaning Hakanpaa actually might have a good shot at cracking the roster out of camp if no further NHL additions are made.