Westcott Clarifies Devils’ Draft Picks

With the Qualifying Round largely done, we know that the Islanders, Coyotes, Canadiens, Blackhawks and Canucks will be moving on to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only the Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets play-in series remains to be finalized as well as the seeding for most of the teams that already qualified for the playoffs.

Because of that, there was some hashing out of just where the Devils’ Draft picks, acquired in trades with conditions, would be.

Enter Chris Westcott, who posted to the “Inside the Devils Blog” today to clarify where the Devils stand.

Westcott said that the Devils have three first-round picks in 2020. These include their own, Arizona’s first-round pick (the Coyotes defeated the Predators to advance to play the Avalanche in the first round of what will be just Taylor Hall’s second trip to the playoffs) as a part of the Taylor Hall trade and Vancouver’s first-round pick via Tampa Bay (the Blake Coleman deal). The Canucks ousted the Wild to move on.

Now, of course, Westcott does mention that if Hall re-signs with Arizona or the Yotes somehow upset Colorado in the first-round of the playoffs, the Devils would get “a 2021 second-rounder instead of a third. But if both of these things transpire, the Devils would receive a first-round pick in 2021” from the Coyotes.

He also talks about the Sami Vatanen deal where, if Vatanen plays in 70-percent of the Hurricanes’ playoff games, New Jersey “will get a 2020 third instead of a fourth-round pick.”

Westcott said that if the Draft were today, the Devils would have the seventh (their pick), eighteenth and twentieth picks in the first-round. The Arizona and Vancouver picks will likely change as the playoffs move on and teams get “reseeded” in the Draft order.

Westcott says that, essentially, we, as Devils fans, should be rooting for Vatanen and Arizona.

If Vatanen can stay healthy, that pick condition should be met no problem. The Hurricanes probably like what they see and see Vatanen as a good weapon, especially on the power play.

The Taylor Hall thing is where it gets less likely that we get what we want. Hall wants stability above all else. Sure, if the Yotes get him his first ever playoff series win, he would be more apt to re-sign there. The problem is the GM situation. John Chayka is gone, leaving them with an interim general manager for the time being. It is even more chaotic than the Devils towards the end of Hall’s tenure here.

But we will see how things pan out. Right now, the Devils have three first-rounders in a good draft. This is time to move forward and think of the team’s future.

Devils Get Revised Conditions on Vatanen Trade Due to COVID-19

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.