Ducks Ship Vatanen to Devils for Henrique
The Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forwards Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi plus a third-round pick in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the second time this month, we see an honest-to-goodness hockey trade and not a salary dump or a couple of struggling teams swapping aging assets. This is a good move for clubs. The Devils needed more experienced skill on their blueline, while the Ducks needed to bolster their injury-ravaged forward lines.
Vatanen, 26, spent much of last season and this past summer as a fixture in the trade rumor mill. He’s a solid all-around defenseman and should be a good addition to the improving Devils’ defense corps. The only concern is he’s recently returned from offseason shoulder surgery, though he doesn’t appear significantly hampered by it, logging over 21 minutes per game.
The Ducks currently sit outside the Western Conference playoff picture, brought on largely because of injuries to a number of key players, including centers Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. Henrique, 27, is a versatile top-six forward who can skate at center or left wing. He reached 40 points in five of the last six seasons and is on pace this season for over 45 points.
Cap-wise they’re comparable, as Henrique is signed through 2018-19 with an annual cap hit of $4 million, while Vatanen carries a $4.875 million cap hit on a deal that runs through 2019-20.
Blandisi, 23, spent the last two seasons shuttling between the Devils and their AHL affiliate. He hasn’t played an NHL game yet this season. Given the growing number of Ducks forwards on the sidelines, however, he’ll likely see action with his new club soon. He’s considered an agitating forward who can play center or wing.