|Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)|
The Devils acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen and a conditional future third-round pick in exchange for forward Adam Henrique, minor leaguer Joseph Blandisi and the Devils third-rounder in the 2018 draft.
That's right Adam Henrique.
As in Rachel's Adam Henrique.
I'll get to the hockey part of the trade shortly, but Rachel doesn't know as I type this, and I know she's going to take it hard.
It's part of following sports, players are transient by nature, and players come and go, but when you give your heart to a player for the first time as Rachel did Henrique, it is a blow and it's a big one.
I remember the Toby Harrah for Buddy Bell trade and how it hit me.
I was half as old as Rachel, but the first time is the first time no matter how old you are.
It always is tough and it gets a little better the more you go through it, but the hurt from that first time never goes away...
Sometimes the best you can do is say you are sorry, give a hug, and hope the hurt goes away.
I'd hate to see her dislike Vatanen for this-he's a fine player that didn't ask to be traded for her favorite player...
As for Vatanen, the Devils are acquiring just what they needed entering the season, a young offensive-minded defenseman that can play the power play with a right-handed shot.
Vatanen recently came back from off-season shoulder surgery and in fifteen games for the Ducks has one goal and three assists.
Vatanen had three goals and twenty-one assists in 71 games last season and a career-high in goals (12) came in 2014-15.
The Ducks were looked at all during the summer as a possible trading partner with the Devils since the biggest need for New Jersey was the spot that Anaheim had in surplus.
Vatanen is easily a top-four defenseman for the Devils and arguably becomes their best defenseman upon arrival in Colorado (The Devils are in Denver for tomorrow's game).
The 26-year-old Finnish product is a clear upgrade for the team's blueliners and we'll be glad to have him, I'm sure.
As is usual in pro sports, you generally have to give quality to gain it and Adam Henrique has been a player that has been very popular in New Jersey with fans and was active in the community.
The 27-year-old will be best remembered for his goal in the playoffs vs the New York Rangers that eliminated the Rangers and sent the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals in their last visit to the playoffs to date.
Henrique was always an effort player, but he had gotten off to a slow start this season with just four goals and ten assists and with plenty of depth in New Jersey and with Anaheim suffering from injuries to their top two centers (Ryan Getzlaff and Ryan Kesler), Henrique will have every opportunity to step right into the Ducks lineup with critical minutes.
Joseph Blandisi spent this season with Binghamton and seemed to fall between the cracks in the Devils system.
Blandisi too should have a chance to start over with a team in desperate current need at forward
In summary-I like the trade on the ice.
Sami Vatanen instantly upgrades the defense and adds some pop from the blueline that the Devils lacked and Adam Henrique was part of a strong bunch of forwards that the team hopes can be replaced.
Look for Pavel Zacha to be given the first chance to slide into Henrique's role.
Off the ice-it hurts.
Adam Henrique was very gracious to Rachel when she was able to meet him and it was Henrique who locked her in as a Devils fan.
Henrique will always be fondly remembered by Devils fans and I'm sad to see him go, despite that it might be better for his career.
I might have more on this later.
Rachel-I'm so so sorry :(