Earlier today the Ducks acquired centers Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi, and a 2018 third-round draft pick from New Jersey in exchange for defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick. Henrique is expected to join the Ducks tonight in Columbus. Both he and Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray held conference calls with the media. Below are the transcripts.
On his feelings of the trade
I was shocked. This morning, when I talked to Ray [Shero], we talked for a while, which was great. When he told me the news, I was just shocked. It wasn't something I was expecting. In the back of my mind, maybe going into this season, maybe at some point, maybe closer to the trade deadline, you generally don't see trades like this go down early in the season. But with everything going on in Anaheim with the injuries, it just makes sense. The Devils have been looking for a defenseman. Everything kind of came together in the last day or two here from what I've been told. I've settled down now after the initial shock. I talked to the guys at the rink this morning. I'm home now getting everything ready to hit the road. I'm certainly excited to join the guys on the road and get a new chapter started.
On his new start and the past few seasons with the Devils
Things here last year, it was a tough year for the whole team and organization. This year, things have turned around. The guys have been playing great. Heading to Anaheim, it hasn't really settled in yet. I look forward to the opportunity to play there. They have a great team with a lot of great players. The exciting part is it's a winning organization. Once everybody comes back, and it's healthy there, it's going to be a scary team for a good push this year.
He's an exciting young player. He has the ability to put up big numbers. His speed, his shot and his ability with the puck is something that separates him. Haven't had a chance to talk with him yet, but I'm sure we'll be able to catch up. Hopefully him and I can come in there and help make a difference.
On the trade
It's a classic hockey deal in the sense that Ray [Shero] and I have been talking for a long time, even before the draft last year. He could have an excess of forwards and I could have an excess of defensemen at some point in time. We both had to kind of wait. I had to wait for the defense to get healthy to make a decision on who to move. He just got some of his forwards back. It's a good deal for both teams in the sense that we both had needs to fill. You never like to give up a guy like Sami because he's such a competitive player and has done so many good things for us. It probably wasn't easy for them to give up Adam either. Hopefully this one works out for both teams.
On if injuries pushed up the timeline for the trade
Not really. We've been looking for a left-hand shot center or winger. Adam can play both. Once we got healthy, we had to make a decision. They happened to get healthy at the same time. It helps us right now. I'm not going to deny that. We have two big centermen out, but they're not that far away. Keep our head above water until they get back.
We liked him. We knew him as a scorer in junior. He's another left-handed shot that can play center or the wing. He's just a guy looking for an opportunity. There was an opportunity for us to fill in our depth. He likes to score and be around the net. He knows how to play around the net. He likes shooting. It could be a good opportunity for him.
On if Montour's emergence factored into this trade
It obviously gave us a little security there, and you look at our strength in San Diego. The defense has been holding that team together. We're deep on defense, but it's never easy to give up a guy like Sami. At some point in time, I was going to have too much on defense and too much money on defense.
On where Henrique fits in
It gives Randy [Carlyle] lots of options. Adam has proven over the last little while he can play left wing. It makes us really strong down the middle if Randy wants to go that way. It gives us lots of movement up front. Lots of different options. We'll see where they fall.
On if there were talks at the draft
We talked about lots of things then. Lots of moving parts. When they won the lottery and got [Nico] Hischier, that kind of made things more flexible for him to do some things. It was close, but we knew we'd have guys out with injuries. It was very difficult for us to even think about doing something until we got our defense healthy. We knew right away that Sami and Hampus weren't going to be back until sometime around November 1. That kind of pushed us back.
On if Henrique is the same player he was during the Stanley Cup Final run in 2012
That team has had to evolve and they've had to rebuild. He's had a changing role there. With us, it puts him back into a more offensive role, which I think he's going to love. He's not old by any means. Sometimes when teams rebuild or reboot, or have this process, maybe it's time for people to get a change of scenery. It doesn't mean they're bad players.
On if Vatanen needed a change of scenery
No. I had an opportunity because of our depth on defense. We knew we had to do something from last year. With the emergence of some of our younger guys, it was just a matter of time. This just happened now. This was very difficult.