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Carolina Hurricanes

Six or Seven Teams in on D-man Sami Vatanen

A recent report suggests there’s lots of interest in pending free agent defenseman Sami Vatanen. Of the six or seven teams kicking tires, how serious is Carolina’s interest?

According to Craig Custance of The Athletic (subscription required), Sami Vatanen of the New Jersey Devils is getting a ton of interest heading into this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. Custance notes that as many as six or seven teams are “in” on the New Jersey defenseman.

Vatanen, 28, is one of the few right-handed defenseman available this season and with his status as a pending unrestricted free agent and the Devils one of the few obvious sellers this year, it makes sense there would be teams calling. The Devils stand to lose him for nothing in the summer if they don’t move him for something before February 24. What they get might be a matter of just how many teams show interest.

Vatanen offers a few different options for interested teams. He’s a decent power play blueliner — 10 of his 23 points this season have come when the Devils are up by a man— and he’s a penalty killer, having played almost two minutes per game shorthanded. He’s got a bit of playoff experience as a member of the Anaheim Ducks and he’s not unwilling to muck it up and play a bit of a tougher style.

The question will be what teams are willing to give away in this season’s rental market. The bar hasn’t really been set as no big pending free agents have been moved in a trade, certainly no defensemen.

Is he worth a first-round pick? It’s hard to imagine so but also hard to know if enough teams get in on the action and one or two franchises start to panic, just what he could fetch. Custance writes that the plan in New Jersey right now is to “sit and wait on the best offer.”

Vatanen to the Hurricanes?

There are rumblings the Carolina Hurricanes might be interested after losing Dougie Hamilton to a broken fibula a few weeks ago. He’s likely to miss the remainder of the regular season, which means the Hurricanes could be looking to upgrade their defense.

The problem is, the Hurricanes have been known to be against acquiring rentals and even though they have an extra first-round pick this summer, it’s more likely they try to acquire a player like Matt Dumba with it than Vatanen.

Related: McDavid Fallout: What Do Oilers Do With Lines? Plus, Nygard Signs Extension

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