Just moments ago one of the bigger trades of this season occurred, a trade that increases the Devils blue line and power play and for the Ducks they acquire a left handed forward and add some more forward depth. In my eyes, New Jersey wins this trade by a landslide.
Breakdown of the trade:
New Jersey Devils receives, conditional pick, Sami Vatanen
Anaheim Ducks receives, Adam Henrique, Joseph Blandisi, and a 2018 3rd-round draft pick.
No salary will be retained in the trade, Henrique/Vatanen salaries are a wash at $5 million this year.
The interesting thing though, Vatanen had a limited NTC(no trade clause), 12 teams, he’d allow a trade to that is set to kick in 2018-2019, due to the CBA, the Devils have the option to honor the clause or have it nullified.
A look at Anaheim….
Now as you look at both these rosters I guess you could say it is a wash of a trade because Anaheim has Cam Fowler, Hampush Lindholm, Kevin Bieska and two young defensemen that have progressed really well this season, Brandon Montour and Josh Manson, so it was ok for Anaheim to shed a defenseman. They were looking to move Vatanen since early in the summer I believe. Now, with the addition of Blandisi a defenseman that did not live up to expectations in Jersey’s system and has been a bit of a disappointment, it helps clear up some space to bring up another defenseman or young prospect for New Jersey and acts as bait for Anaheim. Adam Henrique does not add much to the Ducks but with the Ducks long list of injuries, it won’t hurt to have Henrique centering in the top six. Henrique is nearing in on his thirty’s and has definitely had a rocky NHL career, only one time has he tallied 30-goals and his highest point tally was 51. With Henrique’s terrible start it looks as if 50 points is going to be a tough task for the 27-year-old forward, he has 4 goals and 10 assists on the season and that was on one of the highest scoring teams in the league. Bring him to Anaheim where he will be expected to be a top-six forward and make an immediate impact, it won’t happen. This will not look as terrible when Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler come back but right now Anaheim do not expect much from Henrique.
How it benefits New Jersey….
Now, New Jersey wins this deal for me because for years the Devils needed to upgrade their blueline and with the addition of Will Butcher this offseason it was a step in the right direction. But as Andy Greene is on his way out, the Devils need someone to replace the left-handed defenseman’s top minutes. The Devils looked to get Kevin Shattenkirk but that fell through the cracks, and it was of concern if the Devils defense can withstand the pressure with the roster they have. Well as this season goes on the Devils defense looks to be a serviceable d-core just missing one piece. With the addition of Sami Vatanen, the Devils defense definitely gets a lot better. Disregard Vatanen last season, posting 24 points in 71 games, he is a solid two-way defenseman that adds value on the power play. It does not hurt in any way to add a defenseman to this roster and that is why the Devils win this trade easily. At his best Vatanen posted, 37 points in consecutive seasons. A fresh start being in a top-four role(where he was not in Anaheim) could pay off huge for the Devils and Vatanen’s game. This trade only has positive and upside for the Devils, as they land a top-four defenseman and continue to become serious contenders now.