NHL trade freeze is underway and Sami Vatanen is still with the Ducks — for the time being
Sami Vatanen wasn’t on the move from the Ducks on Saturday – and there is no certainty he will be in the coming days.
Teams would love a 26-year-old smooth skater for a defenseman that has strong offensive instincts, loves to feast on the power play and is a coveted right-handed shot. The Ducks prize all of that and it’s why Vatanen was signed to a four-year extension last summer.
The issue with the Ducks is they have enough of that in others on a loaded blue line. There are also others they can’t move. So that makes Vatanen the one appearing to be the most expendable and his eventual destination is one of the hottest topics to start the NHL’s summer season.
Even with some teams having clear needs to upgrade their defense corps, Vatanen wasn’t dealt as a league-wide trade freeze went into effect at noon Pacific time. Teams can only deal with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights from now until the moratorium is lifted Thursday.
But it is believed that the Ducks and Golden Knights have completed a deal that neither side will announce until Wednesday, when Vegas will make public its selections in the NHL expansion draft that will be done in conjunction with the league’s awards show at T-Mobile Arena.
Teams submitted their list of protected players Saturday, with those lists released by the NHL early Sunday morning. The Ducks are expected to go with a 7-3-1 option (seven forwards, three defensemen, one goalie) as opposed to eight skaters regardless of position and a netminder.
That will allow them to protect winger Jakob Silfverberg along with other forwards Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. The latter three have no-movement clauses in their contracts, making them automatically protected.
It also means only three defenders will be protected, which are expected […]