The Carolina Hurricanes were a very intriguing team heading into today’s trade deadline. Lost in the hysteria of the David Ayers game Saturday night, they lost both of their goaltenders, James Reimer and Peter Mrazek, to injury as well as defenseman Brett Pesce.
While they didn’t nab a goaltender, general manager Don Waddell did add some scoring up front with forward Vincent Trocheck. He also improved his blue line by bringing in Brady Skjei from the New York Rangers and also Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils.
Hurricanes Pay Price for Vatanen
As reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Hurricanes have sent prospect Janne Kuokkanen, defenseman Fredrik Claesson and a conditional second-round draft pick to New Jersey for Vatanen.
Kuokkanen was originally drafted in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and has 12 goals and 42 points for the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League this season. Claesson, 27, is a veteran of 150 NHL games and has spent the entire season with the Binghamton Devils in the AHL.
According to McKenzie, the condition on the draft pick depends on Vatanen’s health and how much he actually plays for the Hurricanes. He has been out of the lineup since Feb. 1 after blocking a shot off his leg. He has five goals and 23 points in 47 games this season.
Staying on the Ice is Key
The biggest concern with Vatanen is his health, as he has had problems staying on the ice. He has never played more than 72 games in a season and was limited to just 50 games last season.
When he is one the ice, he has a lot to offer. He has shown that he can play big minutes and in all situations. Vatanen can start a break out with his accurate passing and has a good shot from the point.
He had been the quarterback on the Devils’ top power-play unit for much of the time since he first arrived from the Anaheim Ducks at the 2018 trade deadline. He was very successful on the man-advantage early in the season.
Although he is a little undersized at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, he still works hard in the defensive zone.
Vatanen will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and will have a lot to prove in Carolina. If he wants to earn a big contract, he needs to show that he can stay healthy and be productive during the most crucial time of the season.
Stay updated on all of today’s moves with our 2020 Trade Deadline: Deal Tracker.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.