Ducks trading Sami Vatanen to Devils for Adam Henrique, Joe Blandisi is a win-win
Thursday's blockbuster trade between the Ducks and Devils makes sense for both franchises
The Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils decided to shake things up with a blockbuster trade on Thursday morning. The Ducks agreed to send defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick to the Devils in exchange for center Adam Henrique, forward Joseph Blandisi and a third-round draft pick.
Although somewhat surprising, the deal makes sense for both teams. The Ducks have a surplus of talented defensemen but are injury-ravaged up front. They're currently without key forward pieces Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves.
Henrique, 27, is a talented two-way center and should significantly help the Ducks' offensive production. He's a former 30-goal scorer with four goals and 10 assists in 24 games this season. He'll play a key role in helping the Ducks weather the current storm they're in, but he'll also be a very strong depth piece once Getzlaf and Kesler return. Henrique is signed through 2019 at a very manageable cap hit of $4,000,000.
Blandisi, 23, is a bottom-six forward who plays physical and can provide an occasional offensive contribution. He has eight goals and 26 points in 68 career NHL games. Blandisi is on a two-way deal that runs through 2019.
The centerpiece of the deal is Vatanen, the 26-year-old Finnish puck-moving blue liner that can contribute at both ends of the ice. Though his offensive numbers won't jump off the page, Vatanen's right-handed shot will provide additional depth and experience to the Devils' defensive corps and be a valuable piece for a surprising New Jersey team that has started the year strong and is looking to get into the playoffs this season. Vatanen is signed through 2020 at a cap hit of $4,875,000.
Early contributions from young players in the Devils' organization -- including last summer's top overall pick in center Nico Hischier -- made Henrique expendable and allowed the team to flip him for help on the back end.
It's certainly too early to say who "won" this trade -- though, again, Vatanen is arguably most valuable player in the deal -- but it's pretty easy to understand why both teams agreed to the deal given their current roster situations.
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