Published: Thu, February 27, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Hurricanes Trade Janne Kuokkanen and Fredrik Claesson to New Jersey

Hurricanes Trade Janne Kuokkanen and Fredrik Claesson to New Jersey

The former first round draft pick of the Rangers has struggled since his rookie season, failing to convert on a contract that looked to lock in term in exchange for protection against the latter years back in 2018.

Just across the Hudson River, the Devils dealt the right-handed Vatanen to the Hurricanes for a second-round pick and forward prospect Janne Kuokkanen, even further securing their blue line ahead of their playoff push.

"Skjei's a big body, good defender", Waddell said of the 6-foot-3, 214-pound Skjei, who has eight goals and 15 assists in 60 games this season.

"I don't think anybody likes playing against him", Hurricanes defenseman Jake Gardiner said.

The draft pick in the deal is conditional on Vatanen's health and how much he plays, McKenzie adds. Vatanen himself has been on injured reserve since February 1 after blocking a shot against the Stars. "Plays the game hard, plays the game the right way". The team also moved Hamilton to long-term injured reserve.

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"You always feel good about [deals you make on deadline day] but you also feel nervous too because when you bring in new players this time of the year there's always an adjustment period and hopefully they get up to speed quickly", the Hurricanes general manager said Tuesday during an appearance on Hockey Central.

Skjei is in the second year of a six-year contract that carries a cap hit of $5.25 million. "Even before all the injuries we had talked about adding a defenceman we thought could play minutes, play a hard game, but also contribute offensively". His best season was his first full one in the league, when he had five goals and 34 assists in 80 games in 2016-17. "You feel good on the day you do it, now let's go play the games and find out how we're going to gel together and help us have success here".

A second-round pick in 2016, Kuokkanen now leads the Checkers in scoring with 42 points (12g, 30a) in 52 games.

Kuokkanen becomes one of the most interesting prospects for the Devils immediately, after posting strong results in the minor leagues but getting little opportunity in Carolina. "He's been doing it now in their organization, he's has been doing it at a high level at the American League that we believe translates to the National Hockey League".

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