Sami Vatanen reacts to being traded from Ducks to Devils

HC at Noon caught up with newest New Jersey Devil Sami Vatanen, who had no idea any trade was happening, but is very excited for the next chapter in his career and life.

Sami Vatanen said he “had no idea” he was going to be traded.

The defenceman was dealt, along with a conditional draft pick, to the New Jersey Devils from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forwards Adam Henrique and Joseph Blandisi plus a 2018 third-round pick Thursday morning.

Vatanen, who was woken up by a call from Ducks general manager Bob Murray notifying him of the trade, took a few minutes to speak with the Hockey Central at Noon panel as he waited for a flight at an airport. The Devils visit the Avalanche Friday night and Vatanen is meeting up with his new teammates in Colorado.

“I’ve never been part of this kind of thing, so it was something different,” Vatanen said. “It all starts to settle down right now and it’s part of the business and I’m very excited about the new challenge. I’m very excited about it. I spoke with [Devils GM Ray Shero] and they wanted me there so it’s a good thing. I have to go in slowly and try to do my best to help the team to win.”

Sami Vatanen on being traded to Devils
November 30 2017

The 26-year-old has spent his entire NHL career with the Ducks after the team selected him in the fourth round (106th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft. The Jyvaskyla, Finland native registered 33 goals, 93 assists and 116 penalty minutes in 280 career regular-season games in an Anaheim uniform and added 22 points in 40 playoff contests.

“We had some good years there so I’m very happy that I was part of it,” he said. “[My time in Anaheim] was good for me and now it’s time for a new challenge.”

Vatanen said he isn’t familiar with anyone on the Devils besides former Ducks teammates Kyle Palmieri and Ben Lovejoy. He also doesn’t know who he’ll be paired with on the New Jersey blue line or what exactly to expect moving to an Eastern Conference team.

“I think it might be a little bit faster game in the East than the West but you get used to it when you get there and see what’s going on,” he added.

Devils head coach John Hynes told reporters he expects Vatanen to make his debut Friday against the Avs if “everything is good with Sami.”

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