New Jersey Devils: Latest Rumors With Every Trade Deadline Piece

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Sami Vatanen

Sami Vatanen is currently on injured reserve after a deep bruise left him laying after blocking a shot. It doesn’t seem to be that serious, but it is curious the Devils never let him get a game in before the trade deadline to ease some teams’ worries. However, it isn’t worth it to push him to the limit just to showcase a less-than-100-percent defenseman.

However, it sounds like it’s more likely than not that Vatanen is going to get traded. Just a few weeks ago, it sounded like Vatanen was the player that may have pushed Ray Shero out as GM. Just a few weeks later, he’s one of the most likely trade candidates still in the Devils locker room.

So, which teams are being tied to Vatanen? There are a lot of injuries that tell us which teams might be looking for defensive help.

The Carolina Hurricanes are the obvious one here. Brett Pesce is going to be out a while after the team’s last game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. They could use someone to replace him and Dougie Hamilton, who got hurt earlier this season. They have two 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-round picks in 2020 (as long as the Leafs don’t somehow fall in the top 10).

The aforementioned Toronto Maple Leafs could be another, but other defensemen seem like a better fit. With their season in flux and already missing their 1st-round pick in the Patrick Marleau deal, it seems like they’ll spend their assets on someone who isn’t a rental.

The Vegas Golden Knights have been tied to Sami Vatanen for a long time. With an injury on the blue line themselves, the Winnipeg Jets have been floated as well. They could hit the Tampa Bay Lightning well again. There are a lot of teams looking for defensive help, but Vatanen can’t be thrown into a number-one role.

As far as return, it’s going to be muted to what we thought they might get even a week ago. If a team was offering a 1st-round pick, this deal would be done already. This feels more like the Marcus Johansson deal that came in just before the buzzer and got the Devils a 2019 2nd-round pick and a 2020 4th-round pick. The Devils will likely take the best possible offer as late as they can. Maybe someone will up the offer if another defenseman comes off the board on Monday.