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Ducks acquire Henrique, trade Vatanen to Devils

Anaheim gets forward Blandisi, teams exchange draft picks

NHL.com @NHL

Center Adam Henrique, forward Joseph Blandisi and a third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft were acquired by the Anaheim Ducks in a trade with the New Jersey Devils on Thursday for defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional third-round draft pick.

Henrique, 27, has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 24 games this season. He's second among Devils forwards in average ice time at 18:15, including 2:54 per game on the penalty kill, also second among Devils forwards.

 

[RELATED: Fantasy buzz: Vatanen, Henrique trade impact]

 

"I was shocked, obviously, this morning," Henrique said. "The initial shock has worn off and I'm excited to join the guys on the road and get the new chapter started."

Vatanen, 26, has four points (one goal, three assists) and a minus-6 rating in 15 games this season, and was third on the Ducks in average ice time (21:06). He missed the first seven games of the season recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

"I've never been part of this kind of thing, so it was something different," Vatanen told Sportsnet. "It all starts to settle down right now and it's part of the business and I'm very excited about the new challenge. I'm very excited about it. I spoke with [Devils general manager Ray Shero] and they wanted me there, so it's a good thing. I have to go in slowly and try to do my best to help the team to win."

Devils goaltender Cory Schneider said though the trade was surprising, he understands the business side of the situation.

Video: Ducks acquire Henrique and Blandisi for Vatanen

"[Henrique] was a fan favorite who laid it all on the line, on and off the ice, for the organization," Schneider said. "He really embodied being a Devil. These trades are never easy. If you take the human element out of it, it's clearly a trade that both teams felt was good for them."

The Ducks are missing three centers because of injuries. Ryan Kesler has not played this season because of a hip injury; Ryan Getzlaf has missed 14 games because of facial injuries sustained Oct. 29 and could miss another month; and Rickard Rakell has been out the past three games because of an upper-body injury. Ducks general manager Bob Murray said Getzlaf and Kesler are skating are on their own, and the GM is hopeful Rakell could play at the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

"It's a winning organization," Henrique said of the Ducks. "When everyone returns from the injuries, it's going to be a scary team making a push this year."

 

[RELATED: 2017-18 NHL Trade Tracker]

 

Selected by the Devils with a third-round pick (No. 82) in the 2008 NHL Draft, Henrique had 257 points (122 goals, 135 assists) in 455 games.

His biggest moments with the Devils came during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He scored in double overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to eliminate the Florida Panthers, and his overtime goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final eliminated the New York Rangers and put the Devils into the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2003.

Travis Zajac and Devils captain Andy Greene are the only remaining players from 2011-12, the last time the Devils qualified for the playoffs.

Video: LAK@ANA: Vatanen wires wrister past Quick

"[Henrique] was a little bit upset when we first spoke," Devils coach John Hynes said. "I think the shock of it, and the fact he's been here for a long time. He's going to a good team and great place to live. By the end of the conversation he was looking forward to some things. He'll fly out [Thursday] and might play [Friday]."

Anaheim next plays at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, PRIME, NHL.TV).

Henrique is in the fifth season of a six-year contract with an average annual value of $4 million, according to CapFriendly.com, and can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season. If the Ducks sign Henrique to a contract prior to making their third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, that pick will be sent to the Devils. If the Ducks sign Henrique after using that selection, their third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft will be sent to the Devils. If Henrique does not re-sign with the Ducks, no pick will be traded.

Blandisi, 23, has 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 19 games with Binghamton, the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate. He had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 27 games with the Devils last season. Murray said he'll join the Ducks.

"It's a good deal for both teams," Murray said. "We both have needs to fill. Hopefully this works out for both teams."

Shero, who is in his third season as general manager of the Devils after serving in the same capacity with the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2006-14, said his discussion with Henrique might have been the longest he's ever had with a player he's traded.

"This trade is about being a good team; it isn't a short-term fix," Shero said. "I want to be a competitive team this year and in the future. The past few drafts have been good for us, and we've got depth building up, so I don't want to lose that too quickly and set us back."

Hynes said Vatanen likely will make his Devils debut at the Colorado Avalanche on Friday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV).

"[Vatanen] is a guy that comes in and solidifies our defense corps," Hynes said. "He's a guy who can play in all situations, and has lots of good experience. We're getting a player that's experienced and I think can help lead our [defense] corps."

Vatanen, chosen by the Ducks in the fourth round (No. 106) of the 2009 NHL Draft, has 126 points (33 goals, 93 assists) in 280 games. The right-handed shot is in the second season of a four-year contract with an average annual value of $4.875 million, according to CapFriendly.com.

"Sami can play all situations, so that's something we were looking to add, and I liked that he was signed for two more years after this season," Shero said. "We got a young defenseman who can move the puck, competes hard."

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