Rangers' Skjei, Devils' Vatanen Traded To Hurricanes

NYR Receive First Rounder; NJD Get Multiple Assets

Alec Gearty
February 24, 2020 - 3:31 pm

The Carolina Hurricanes looked to the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils to replenish its defensive unit. 

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Carolina acquired defensemen Brady Skjei and Sami Vatanen from the Rangers and Devils, respectively. 

The Rangers received the Hurricanes' 2020 first-round pick in exchange for Skjei. New Jersey acquired defenseman Fredrik Claesson, prospect Janne Kuokkanen and a conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick. The Devils also retained 50% of Vatanen's salary as part of the deal. 

The Hurricanes had been without defenseman Dougie Hamilton for the past month. He suffered a fractured fibula and was ruled out for the remainder of the season. Brett Pesce sustained an upper-body injury on Saturday. 

Devils interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald left no stone unturned this season. 

Fitzgerald had already dealt forwards Blake Coleman and Wayne Simmonds as well as defenseman Andy Greene and goalie Louis Domingue in the buildup to Monday's trade deadline. With 10 minutes left for teams to make the official trade call, McKenzie reported Vatanen would also be on the move to Carolina. 

Vatanen was second among Devils defensemen in scoring. He tallied 23 points — five goals, 18 assists — through 47 games. He's been sidelined with a lower-body injury and will become an unrestricted free agent following the season. Kuokkanen spent the past three seasons within the Hurricanes' organization.

The Finnish-born forward led the Charlotte Checkers, Carolina's AHL affiliate, with 42 points this season. Carolina also took advantage of New York's decision to extend forward Chris Krieder. Earlier Monday afternoon, team president John Davidson revealed the Rangers signed Chris Kreider to a seven-year extension worth nearly $45.5 million. 

Skjei was in his fourth full season in New York. Team president John Davidson revealed the Rangers also signed forward Chris Kreider to a seven-year; $45.5 million contract extension and hinted he was receiving calls surrounding other players. 

"Trading Brady Skjei is difficult," general manager Jeff Gorton said. "He's a special guy ... He's been a good Ranger. We do nothing but wish him the best. It was just a move we felt like we had to make."

New York selected Skjei, who tallied 23 points this season, with the 28th overall pick at the 2012 NHL Draft. The Rangers won't retain any percentage of Skjei's contract, clearing $5.25 million in cap space, which will become vital during the offseason. 

Forwards Brendan Lemieux, Ryan Strome; defenseman Tony DeAngelo and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev will become eligible for restricted free agency. Forward Jesper Fast is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the season.