The COVID-19 pandemic changed the sporting landscape a lot in 2020. One more thing that will be changing will be the conditions on the trade the Devils made with the Carolina Hurricanes as New Jersey sent Sami Vatanen down to Raleigh.
According to Amanda Stein on the “Inside the Devils Blog” on NewJerseyDevils.com, the NHL was asked to make new conditions by both teams.
The trade went down on February 24 as the Devils sent Vatanen to Carolina in exchange for Freddie Claesson, Janne Kuokkanen and a conditional fourth round pick in this year’s Draft.
Stein is reporting that, due to the season being “halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and subsequently restarted with the 24-team format, the Hurricanes and Devils required the NHL to help regulate the conditions of the fourth round selection.”
The condition originally came due to Vatanen being injured when the Devils dealt him. Vatanen had to play “between five and 11 regular-season games to close out the year” for Carolina in order for the pick to be a 2020 fourth rounder.
Stein says that Vatanen had to play in “12 regular-season games or 70% of Carolina’s playoff games in 2020” for the pick to be “upgraded to a third-round pick.” She said that the Canes had 21 games to go in their 2019-20 season at the time of the trade. The last condition was that if Vatanen could only “four games or less; the pick would not be included in the deal.”
When the time came to rethink things on the conditions, due to the pandemic and the craziness that surrounded the season as it got restarted, both teams “submitted their perspectives on the deal which the NHL presided over and determined the following stipulations regarding the pick, which includes several scenarios.”
Those stipulations and scenarios are: “If Carolina wins its Qualifying Round against the Rangers, and Sami Vatanen plays in 70% or more of Carolina’s 2019-20 Stanley Cup Playoff games, which does not include the qualifying round, Carolina will transfer its own third round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to New Jersey.” Stein clarified by saying, “If Carolina was to play six playoff games, Vatanen would need to play in five or more of those games to qualify for the 70% minimum threshold.”
If that does not occur and “Sami Vatanen plays in two or more games during the Qualifying Round, Carolina will transfer a fourth (4th) round pick to New Jersey.” Vatanen has played in the two games Carolina has played so far against New York in the Qualifying Round, so the Devils will obtain at least a fourth-round pick, Stein reported.
Another scenario set out by Stein says that if “Carolina wins its Qualifying Round series, Carolina will transfer its own fourth (4th) round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft to New Jersey.” The Hurricanes are currently up 2-0 in their best-of-five series against the Rangers, but should they suddenly fall apart, “Carolina will have the option to defer the fourth round pick they will transfer to New Jersey to its own fourth (4th) round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft instead of transferring its pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.” She says that “this deferral option must be provided to the NHL’s Central Registry and the New Jersey Devils informed prior to the fourth (4th) round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Without such notice, Carolina will transfer its own fourth (4th) round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.”
This is a kind of weird thing to go through to get things right for both teams on this deal, but let’s face it, this year has been weird all around. We will see how the whole thing plays out. Vatanen, as noted by Stein in her article, has a point (an assist) in his two Qualifying Round games against the Rangers and the Hurricanes seem to be rolling on their way towards the playoffs.