Leason Vaaks

The Ducks have signed defenseman Urho Vaakanainen and right wing Brett Leason to one-year contracts through the 2024-25 NHL season.

Vaakanainen, 25 (1/1/99), set career highs in points (1-13=14), goals, assists and appearances (65) in 2023-24, including his first NHL goal Jan. 25, 2024 at Dallas. He was Anaheim’s nominee for the 2023-24 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. His prior single-season bests were set in 2021-22, including games played (29, 14 with Anaheim, 15 Boston), points (0-6=6) and assists.

The 6-2, 200-pound defenseman has recorded 1-23=24 points and 38 penalty minutes in 133 career NHL games with Anaheim (2022-present) and Boston (2018-22). Acquired from Boston with John Moore, 2022 first-round, 2023 second-round and 2024 second-round selections in the NHL Draft for Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran, March 19, 2022, Vaakanainen was originally selected by Boston in the first round (18th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He earned 11-28=39 points with a +27 rating and 54 PIM in 119 AHL contests with San Diego and Providence. He also skated in 111 career Finnish Liiga games with SaiPa and JYP, tallying 8-16=24 points with a +7 rating and 46 PIM.

A native of Joensuu, Finland, Vaakanainen represented Finland at three consecutive World Junior Championships, including 2017, 2018 and 2019, winning gold in 2019. He also helped Finland to medals at the 2016 World U-18 Championship (gold) and 2017 World U-18 Championship (silver).

Leason, 25 (4/30/99), has scored 20-17=37 points with 32 penalty minutes (PIM) in 158 career games with Anaheim (2022-present) and Washington (2021-22). In 2023-24 with the Ducks, the 6-5, 218-pound forward set single-season career highs in points (11-11=22), goals, assists, shorthanded goals (2) and appearances (68).

Claimed on waivers by Anaheim from Washington Oct. 10, 2022, Leason also recorded 6-7=13 points and 14 PIM in 31 American Hockey League (AHL) games with the Hershey Bears in 2021-22. He added one goal in two Calder Cup Playoff contests with Hershey. In 114 career AHL games with Hershey, Leason has earned 18-29=47 points with a +13 rating and 34 PIM.

Originally selected by Washington in the second round (56th overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft, Leason spent four seasons with Prince Albert and Tri-City from 2016-19, collecting 60-80=140 points with a +42 rating and 50 PIM. He helped Prince Albert to a WHL championship in 2018-19 and was named to the WHL First All-Star Team after scoring 36-53=89 points in 55 regular-season games. He added 10-15=25 points in 22 WHL Playoff contests.

The Calgary, Alberta native represented Canada at the 2019 World Junior Championship, earning 3-2=5 points and a +7 rating in five tournament contests.