The New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks pulled off a trade on Thursday morning. New Jersey sent Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi to Anaheim for Sami Vatanen. There is also an exchange of third-round picks, with one being conditional. However, the real impact is Vatanen and Henrique switching places.
What Sami Vatanen Means To Your Fantasy Hockey Team Now?
That is a great question. One of New Jersey’s biggest issues all year has been a lack of puck-moving defensemen in all phases. Vatanen fills that need but his point potential could be big on a top ten in the league power play. Consider that the former Anaheim blueliner had 50 points in his last three full seasons on the man advantage. That is better than Duncan Keith and Dustin Byfuglien. Top 20 rearguards just do not appear overnight, and Vatanen has that kind of impact.
Vatanen missed the start of the season with a shoulder injury. He has just four points in 15 games, but again the first few weeks can be attributed to rust. The fact that Will Butcher (Top 125 player in Yahoo and 65% owned) is a left-handed shot, it could be a perfect compliment IF New Jersey goes back to a two defensemen setup. The more likely scenario is that Vatanen will be on the top power-play unit along with top-four even strength ice time. Playing with Taylor Hall alone is a reason to be optimistic for Vatanen.
A change of scenery may be the best thing that could happen for the Finnish player. New Jersey is in the playoff mix because of their youth and Vatanen is only 26. This has the potential to be a perfect match. He has averaged almost two blocks and two hits per contest, which creates a nice floor in a season-long (Yahoo, ESPN) and in daily fantasy (DraftKings).
Though the defenseman has missed at least 11 games over the last three years, Vatanen played more than 21 minutes a night. His speed and puck rushing abilities are skills that New Jersey desperately needs. New Jersey averages over 30 shots a game which could bump up Vatanen’s shot potential. Any increase in floor – due to more shot and blocked shot potential – in fantasy leagues can obviously lead to more points. That could mean 35-40 point potential along with nice peripherals on a top ten offense (3.17 goals per game).
What Adam Henrique’s Impact Could Be For Fantasy
The now Anaheim forward is in a familiar position in a way. Henrique went back into a top-six role (14 points in 24 games). That was the New Jersey part of the story. With the Ducks, Henrique can play top line minutes and power play minutes during the next couple weeks. Ryan Getzlaf should return mid-December, Ryan Kesler closer to Christmas. The Ducks have lost the most regarding fantasy impact.
Henrique is only 13% owned, and Blandisi less than 1% owned in Yahoo leagues. ESPN is around 10% for Henrique. The forward can play 18+ minutes as he has shown in New Jersey with a good bit of talent. Corey Perry, Cam Fowler, Brandon Montour for starters are there. Even Josh Manson can take on a power play role in the short term. However, Montour has a good shot and instincts. He is the kind of defenseman that could easily garner 10+ power play points. That would be a boon for Henrique short term.
There is the understanding also that Kesler may take awhile to get back to a 100% level. He is also a shutdown center, so Henrique may even shift to a top-six wing position. This sounds very familiar to what he did in New Jersey. Henrique can play two-plus minutes a night on the power play or the penalty kill. He is versatile in that sense and has scored 50 points twice, and 20+ goals three times. The center could still have 40+ point potential because he can play on the wing. Value is boosted in daily fantasy (DraftKings) but remember that he has a lower floor (1.85 shots per game career). Keep that in mind.