He would have the honor of trading Michael Hakkarain outright for the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. He was the lone returner for the Vegas Golden Knights when they sent Marc-Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks in a salary dump last year. Unfortunately, he will not get the chance to further his hockey history. Hakkarainen announced his retirement due to a heart condition that would have threatened his life if he had continued playing.
Selected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, his story is one of unheralded potential after playing in Finnish minor hockey and playing well at the USHL level for several years. After playing just one game with Providence College, he decided to forgo the NCAA circuit, which may have helped his development more than the path he chose. After one year in the USHL, he entered professional hockey and barely played, meeting just 14 times total in the AHL and another nine times in the ECHL.
After the Fleury trade, the Golden Knights terminated Hakkarainen’s contract to return to Europe. Last season he played for Vasteras IK in Sweden’s second division and had 14 points in 26 games.
The 24-year-old hopes to continue in the hockey community in some way but has yet to say what he will do next.