The Devils announced today that an old face was coming back to the team. New Jersey signed defenseman Sami Vatanen to a one-year $2,000,000 contract.
Vatanen was a member of the Devils from 2017-18 – when he was acquired in the trade that sent Adam Henrique to the Anaheim Ducks – to 2019-20 when he was sent to the Carolina Hurricanes for Janne Kuokkanen, Fredrik Claesson and a Carolina draft pick in 2020 (the pick, third-round, 84th overall, became goalie Nico Daws).
Vatanen last played 154 games with the Devils from 2017 to 2020, in which he scored 12 goals, had 56 assists and 68 total points along with 76 penalty minutes.
He has played 434 total NHL games with the Devils and the Ducks totaling 45 goals, 149 assists (194 points) and 192 penalty minutes. He has played in 40 playoff games, including with the Hurricanes during last year’s tournament.
The native of Jyvaskyla, Finland was drafted in the fourth round, 106th overall by the Ducks in 2009. The press release put out by the Devils notes that he was picked in the same draft class (and by the same team) as current Devil Kyle Palmieri.
He has represented Finland in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2010 and 2011 World Junior Championship and the 2010 World Championship.
Vatanen will once again be a great asset to the Devils on the power play. That is why I like this low risk signing so much. He is familiar with the team and should adapt well to new coach Lindy Ruff’s new system. It is good to have him back!