The New Jersey Devils received defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick in what was a splashy trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
The New Jersey Devils announced on Thursday morning that they have sent fan-favorite Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi, and a 2018 conditional third-round pick to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Sami Vatanen. Vatanen is in his second year of a four-year $19.5 million deal.
Vatanen was drafted by the Ducks back in 2009 and spent his first five-plus years with the franchise dating back to 2012-13. The 26-year-old’s best stretch was 2014-15 and 2015-16 when he followed a 12 goal and 25 assist season with nine goals and 29 assists.
Has Ray Shero done it again, or has he done it again? Seemingly every time we talk about a trade that Shero has made, he’s won. Since coming to New Jersey he’s acquired Kyle Palmieri for a second-round pick, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson one for one, Marcus Johansson for two second-round picks that didn’t even belong to the Devils at a time.
This trade is going to help the Devils now, and when they become ready to make a run at a Stanley Cup again. This team’s biggest weakness was its blue line, and this deal is going to help that now and a couple years down the road.
The Ducks were a team that had a deep blue line, and the Devils are a team with a fairly weak blue line. Vatanen is a top-four right-handed defenseman. This is a guy who is going to give players like Andy Greene a break now because they’re not just relying on players younger than 24 anymore. In 15 games played, he has four points (one goal, three assists), but he moves the puck well and has a lot of speed.
Here is what Ray Shero had to say about the trade via NHL.com:
“In acquiring Sami, we bring on a right shot, top-four defenseman who can play in all situations. This move also gives us contract certainty on the back end for the next two-plus years. When acquiring a defenseman like Vatanen, you have to give back quality assets or players in return. That is the case in this situation with Adam and Joe. Adam has been a key member of our organization for nearly ten years since he was drafted. His contributions both on and off the ice will always be appreciated by our organization and fans. For Joe, this is a great opportunity with a quality organization like Anaheim and I am happy for him.
“This also says a great deal about our other forwards in Binghamton and those who have taken the next step in New Jersey. I am excited they continue to push and provide us quality depth and competition from within.”
This deal says a lot about what Shero thinks of the forwards that they have come through the system. He has players in Binghamton that can come up and fill the role that Adam Henrique had. As much as Devils fans love Henrique, this was the right move. If the Devils don’t do anything but continue to strengthen their blue line this year the fan base should be happy because of the step toward their ultimate goal.
🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨
The #NJDevils have acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional third-round pick from Anaheim. New Jersey sends forwards Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi and a 2018 third-round pick to the Ducks. https://t.co/ik2k08usnx pic.twitter.com/lO5iR6x9n9
— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) November 30, 2017