By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Hockey Writer
The New Jersey Devils acquired defenseman Sami Vatanen in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday in exchange for center Adam Henrique and forward Joseph Blandisi.
New Jersey gets a conditional 2019 or 2020 third-round pick along with Vatanen. The Devils also sent a 2018 third-round pick to Anaheim.
Even though he has a goal and three assists in 15 games this season, Vatanen gives the Devils the offensive defensemen they were looking for. The 26-year-old is signed for two more seasons at a salary-cap hit of $4.875 million.
"It's a good deal for both teams that we both had needs to fill," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said on a conference call. "Hopefully this one works out for both teams."
Vatanen has 126 points in 280 regular-season NHL games.
"In acquiring Sami, we bring on a right shot, top-four defenseman who can play in all situations," Devils GM Ray Shero said. "This move also gives us contract certainty on the back end for the next two-plus years."
In Henrique, the Ducks get center depth as they deal with injuries to Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. The 27-year-old has four goals and 10 assists in 24 games this season and is signed through 2018-19.
The conditional pick is exchanged in 2019 if the Ducks sign Henrique prior to making their third-round pick at that draft and in 2020 if they sign him afterward. If they don't re-sign Henrique, no pick is exchanged.
New Jersey's forward depth, including the return of Travis Zajac from injury, gave Shero the ability to deal from a position of strength to address a need.
"Adam has been a key member of our organization for nearly 10 years since he was drafted," Shero said. "His contributions both on and off the ice will always be appreciated by our organization and fans."
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