Boston Bruins: The Cost of Trading for Sami Vatanen


Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins are in need of a young defenseman who can take over a top-four, and eventually, a top-two role to replace Zdeno Chara in the lineup. Now that the cost of trading for Cam Fowler has been discussed, it seems fitting to discuss Sami Vatanen and what it would cost the Bruins to acquire him instead. A lot of people have discussed Vatanen being more suitable than Fowler, hence the purpose of this article.

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2 trades the Boston Bruins must make to secure the Stanley Cup /

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  • The Boston Bruins were in a desperate situation with their cap crunch when they traded Johnny Boychuk, and Dougie Hamilton simply did not want to be a Boston Bruin, which led to his trade, which consequently included a return that was far too low for the potential that Hamilton has. With that in mind, Boston should be looking to take advantage of a team who may be in a similar desperate situation, and instead of looking at one of the contracts that is already signed in Anaheim, it stands to reason to look at one of their players who is unsigned following the 2015-16 season. As demonstrated in the 2015 offseason, young players can be moved instead of signed due to different reasons, which is why Dougie Hamilton is now a member of the Calgary Flames, and Brandon Saad is a Columbus Blue Jacket. The Ducks could move Vatanen to make space for the impending free agent contract of Hampus Lindholm, as well as some other UFAs and RFAs such as Jiri Sekac, Rickard Rakell, Frederik Andersen, and the raise from $900,000 to $3,700,000 that kicks in for Simon Despres following this season.

    If cap-space in general isn’t the primary motivation for a trade, then balancing cap-space distribution between offense and defense could be, as the Ducks learned early on in the season that a lack of goals can seriously hurt a team that is trying to make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup.

    The Anaheim Ducks currently have a ton of depth of defense, most of which is locked up long-term such as Cam Fowler at $4,000,000, Kevin Bieksa at $4,600,000, Simon Despres at $3,700,000, Clayton Stoner at $3,250,000, and the remaining unsigned defenders in Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen should be in line for significant raises on their current cap hits. With so much depth and cap space already allocated to the Ducks blue-line, and their offense only recently starting to click, the Ducks could look to trade the Bruins for one of their forwards, and draft picks as the Bruins have a surplus of both.

    Sami Vatanen is only 24 years old and has already shown that he is a legitimate NHL blue-liner who can put up points. In his first 120 games in the NHL, Vatanen has scored 20 goals and added 40 assists for 60 points, including a 37 point season in 67 games during the 2014-15 season. Vatanen is a responsible player who can easily be a top-four player in a Bruins defense that is truly lacking top-four talent; and in time, a top-two role could be in reach if he continues to play the way he has so far in his young career. Vatanen might not be the most defensively-sound player in the league, but his puck-moving ability is impossible to ignore and his potential ceiling is certainly worth a look. The biggest selling point for Vatanen that makes up for his defensive-woes (although they aren’t terrible) is his right-handed shot which is always coveted in the NHL.

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    Given the fact that the Bruins have a few young forward prospects who could be ready to play full-time in the NHL like Frank Vatrano, and Alexander Khokhlachev — although it didn’t lead to any results, the brilliance that Alexander Khokhlachev flashed in his most recent two-game stint with the Bruins could result in a full-time job for him sooner rather than later if an injury or trade should occur. With that in mind, the Bruins do have a player in Loui Eriksson who is very effective in all three zones, and has found a resurgence of offense that he’s missed since playing in Dallas, but who is also on an expiring contract and should be looking at a pay increase following this season that the Bruins might not be able to cover.

    The proposed trade between Boston and Anaheim could look like this:

    Bruins acquire:

    Sami Vatanen
    Brandon Montour

    Ducks acquire:

    Loui Eriksson
    Bruins or Sharks First Round Draft Pick 2016
    Bruins Fifth Round Draft Pick 2016

    The Bruins could use Frank Vatrano permanently in the lineup, as he’s shown a legitimate NHL shot and an ability to get it off in real-time despite the significant increase in defensive talent from what he’s used to in the NCAA and AHL. Additionally, Vatanen would immediately slot into a top-four role in Boston and take some of the workload off of Zdeno Chara on the powerplay. The Bruins have two first round draft picks and two second round draft picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, and could certainly use one to acquire the defenseman they so desperately need, as well as a very good offensive-defenseman prospect in Brandon Montour.

    As a member of the UMass-Amherst team for 21 games in the 2014-15 season, Montour posted 20 points, and in his 24 AHL games, he’s posted 18 points — 10 in 14 games last season and eight in 10 games so far this season.

    The Anaheim Ducks would be receiving a top-six winger in Eriksson who can play both wings, score points, and is one of the most underrated two-way forwards in the entire National Hockey League. Loui Eriksson, if re-signed, would provide more balance on the Ducks in terms of cap-space between offense and defense, which is something they clearly do not have as of right now.

    At the end of the day, Vatanen may not be exactly what the Bruins need, but it doesn’t hurt to explore all options around the league.

    What do you think? Should the Bruins trade for Sami Vatanen and if so, what should they trade to acquire him? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet your ideas to me @BShareCohen

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