The Carolina Hurricanes have acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Fredrik Claesson, forward Janne Kuokkanen and a 2020 4th round draft pick.
The Hurricanes need defensive depth on the right side with Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce out. However, Vatanen is currently on the Injured Reserve himself with a leg injury. That definitely lowered the return for New Jersey. Claesson is a depth defenseman who is a fringe NHLer. Kuokkanen is a 2016 2nd rounder with little NHL experience and does not have super impressive AHL numbers. The 4th round pick is not much. When healthy, Vatanen is a solid, right handed puck moving defenseman that will fit in well with Carolina. He is also a free agent at the end of the year. If everyone is healthy, Vatanen will fill in behind Hamilton and Pesce on the right side, and start over Trevor van Riemsdyk.
Vatanen, 28, has scored five goals with 18 assists for 23 points in 47 games for the Devils this year. In his NHL career for the Devils and Anaheim Ducks Vatanen has scored 45 goals with 149 assists for 194 points in 434 games.
Claesson, 27, has scored three goals with 16 assists for 19 points in 47 games for the AHL\’s Charlotte Checkers this year. In his NHL career for the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers Claesson has scored six goals with 20 assists for 26 points in 150 games.
Kuokkanen, 21, has scored 12 goals with 30 assists for 42 points in 52 games for Charlotte this year. In his short NHL career, all for the Hurricanes, Kuokkanen has no points in 11 games.