The Washington Capitals announced that they signed SHL standout defenseman Hardy Häman Aktell to a one-year, two-way entry-level contract on Thursday. The signing comes a day after it was reported by Swedish outlet Smålandsposten that the Caps were the NHL frontrunners to sign him.
In 51 SHL games this past season, Häman Aktell recorded 36 points (9g, 27a) from the blueline. He added an additional seven points (3g, 4a) in 18 playoff games. The 24-year-old Swede is a former Nashville Predators fourth-round draft pick from 2016.
NEWS | The Washington Capitals have signed defenseman Hardy Häman Aktell to a one-year, two-way entry-level contract ($775,000/$82,500).#ALLCAPS
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 27, 2023
Unable to find any traction in the Preds organization partially due to injuries, Häman Aktell has never made his way over to North America until this deal. He has been a part of the Växjö Lakers’ organization in the SHL since the 2020-21 season and was the Lakers’ leading scorer from the backend this past season.
The six-foot, four-inches tall, left-shot defender had his offensive breakout during the 2022-23 campaign which led to reported interest from multiple teams around the NHL. In 100 prior SHL games before this season, he had just 27 points (8g, 19a).
Häman Aktell will be eligible to play for the Capitals next season. He will make $775k at the NHL level and $82.5k with Hershey in the AHL.
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman’s had Häman Aktell as his top available college, CHL, and European free agent in this year’s class. Pronman expects the big rearguard to eventually play NHL games.
Here’s the full press release from the Caps:
Capitals Sign Hardy Häman Aktell
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed defenseman Hardy Häman Aktell to a one-year, two-way entry-level contract ($775,000/$82,500), senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Häman Aktell, 24, recorded 36 points (9g, 27a) in 51 games with the Växjö Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) this season. The 6’3″, 220-pound defenseman led Växjö in plus/minus (+23), ranked second on the team in assists and points and tied for third among SHL defenseman in points. The Kåge, Sweden native added seven points (3g, 4a) and recorded a +6 plus/minus rating in 18 playoff games, helping Växjö capture the SHL championship for the second time in three years. In 151 career SHL games with Växjö, Häman Aktell has recorded 63 points (17g, 46a).
Prior to joining Växjö in 2020-21, Häman Aktell recorded 16 points (6g, 10a) in 45 games with IF Björklöven of HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden-2) during the 2019-20 season and six points (1g, 5a) in 34 games during the 2018-19 season.
Häman Aktell was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the fourth round, 108th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Screenshot via Växjö Lakers/YouTube
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