Jani Hakanpaa situation gets even worse in Toronto.
Nic Coury/AP  

Jani Hakanpaa situation gets even worse in Toronto.

Have the Toronto Maple Leafs recruited a defenseman that will never be able to play for them?

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs appear to have a significant problem on their blue line.

In the early moments of free agency, it was announced that the Maple Leafs would be adding veteran defenseman Jani Hakanpaa to their roster. Fans seemed receptive to the news as adding a huge defenseman to the Maple Leafs blue line was a welcomed addition, but things may not work out the way the Maple Leafs had hoped.

Last week, Toronto columnist Steve Simmons revealed that his sources had informed him that there were some giant red flags regarding the health and future of Hakanpaa as an NHL player. One week later the Maple Leafs have yet to announce the official signing of Hakanpaa and now Simmons has doubled down, indicating that his sources believe Hakanpaa will never again play in the National Hockey League.

From Simmons:

What I was told about Hakanpaa was the belief that he would never play again in the NHL. I was told that his bone-on-bone knee was apparently shot. I was told — from two sources — that they didn’t think that any team would sign him.

Of course that raises some serious questions about the Maple Leafs medical staff and how they may have missed what appears to have been common knowledge in NHL circles. Add to that the fact that the Maple Leafs are fresh off of the John Klingberg disaster, a situation last year where Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving signed Klingberg to a 1 year deal at a cap hit of $4.15 million per season only to have Klingberg effectively retire due to injury after just 14 games in the regular season.

This now appears to be yet another case of a miss on the part of the Maple Leafs medical staff, a staff that Simmons was informed had been given the chance to look at Hakanpaa and had cleared him medically.

From Simmons:

I asked the Leafs about the injury on Monday and was informed that he was cleared by the Toronto doctors.

There are still more questions than answers when it comes to Hakanpaa, his health, his future in Toronto and his future in the NHL and it sure sounds like the Maple Leafs may want to get to the bottom of some of those questions sooner rather than later.