If the Canes are willing to make a play for a rental defenseman to replace Dougie Hamilton this season, Vatanen may just be the guy. The Finn has been a solid presence this season in New Jersey, posting 5 goals and 18 assists in 47 games. Carolina is in desperate need of quality defense, which is fortunately something that’s a bit of a premium on the trade market this year. Vatanen is currently listed as the second-ranked “trade bait” by TSN. Only Chris Kreider is being listed as a higher-valued trade target.
Vatanen would bring some much needed firepower to the Canes blue line at a time when that is much-needed in Raleigh. He would provide a great boost as Carolina hopes to remain in playoff contention down the stretch.
One of Vatanen’s biggest selling points is that he is a right shot, something the Canes defensive unit is lacking with Brett Peace and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Adding a quality right-handed defenseman will give the Hurricanes more options to work with in the blue-line pairings and will keep the team from playing anyone on their non-natural side.