Fantasy Impact: Carolina Acquires Defensemen Vatanen and Skjei



The Carolina Hurricanes trade prospect Janne Kuokkanen, defenseman Fredrik Claesson and a second-round draft pick to the New Jersey Devils for rearguard Sami Vatanen. They then flipped a first-round pick to the New York Rangers to land defenseman Brady Skjei.

The Hurricanes get: A mobile, puck-moving defenseman in Vatanen and a big two-way rearguard in Skjei to help staunch the blow of losing the likes of Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce for the long term. The 6-3 Skjei is on pace for 31 points shouldering mainly defensive responsibilities. Vatanen is on pace for his first 40-point season of his career, though on two occasions he was on pace to reach that mark had he remained healthy.

The Devils get: A good draft pick and a pretty good prospect in Kuokkanen (prospect profile is here). The 21-year-old was drafted 43rd overall in 2016 and in three AHL seasons he has 120 points in 160 games – very good numbers for one so young.

Fantasy Players Impacted: Jake Gardiner has four power-play points in his last nine games. The fact that he has just one even-strength point in that span is concerning because he’s about to lose a lot of his PP time. He had marginal fantasy value this season, and he is in danger of becoming completely obsolete. Jaccob Slavin has also seen an uptick in PP time with Hamilton out, and he’ll lose that now. Vatanen will have a nice, and improved, supporting cast to dish to on the power play and on paper it looks like his production will see an uptick.

Skjei has averaged seven seconds of PP time per game. So that’s not going to get any worse. And he has proven to be a 30-point player without any PP time. He’ll just keep doing what he’s doin