Devils Acquire Ryan Graves From Avalanche For Mikhail Maltsev, 2021 Second-Round Pick

Photo: NHL.com

The New Jersey Devils announced on Thursday night that the team has acquired left-handed defenseman Ryan Graves from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for left-wing Mikhail Maltsev and a 2021 second-round pick.

The move comes nearly 43 hours before the roster freeze for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Teams must submit their protection lists by 5 PM ET on Saturday for the Seattle Kraken.

With the trade, the Avalanche avoid losing Graves, 26, who posted two goals, 15 points, a +15 rating, a 57.31% five-on-five Corsi-for percentage, a 56.37% five-on-five expected goals-for percentage, and a 57.57% five-on-five scoring chances-for percentage in 54 games this season, for nothing to the Kraken. He also tallied one goal, five points, and a +6 rating in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

In 149 career NHL games, all with the Avalanche, Graves has recorded 14 goals, 46 points, and a +59 rating. In 25 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has tallied two goals, nine points, and a +14 rating. Graves led the NHL in plus-minus (+40) in his rookie season in 2019-20.

While averaging 19:03 per game (the fourth-most among Avalanche defensemen), including a team-high 3:19 on the penalty kill, this season, Graves posted 77 hits (second on the team behind left wing Gabriel Landeskog’s 81), a team-leading 91 hits, 18 takeaways (tied for seventh), 24 giveaways (tied for fifth), and a 57.3% shot attempts-for percentage.

With the addition, the Devils improve a defense that allowed 3.38 goals-per-game (tied with the Ottawa Senators for the fourth-most in the NHL) and a penalty kill that was dead last with a 71% efficiency. They finished seventh in the East Division with 45 points, 26 behind the New York Islanders for the final Stanley Cup Playoff spot. Since falling in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final, the Devils have made the tournament just once (2018) and won only a game.

The Avalanche, who won the Presidents’ Trophy but fell to the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, lose a valuable piece on their deep blueline after finishing third in the NHL with an average of 2.36 goals-against per game and penalty kill after they ranked eighth with an 83.1% efficiency.

Though, they make room for a young defenseman out of their deep prospect pool to come up and save $3,166,667 in cap space with Landeskog (unrestricted free agent), defenseman Cale Makar (restricted free agent), goaltender Philipp Grubauer (unrestricted free agent), right wing Brandon Saad (unrestricted free agent), and center Pierre Edouard Bellemare (unrestricted free agent) up for contract this offseason. They currently have $26,105,203 in salary cap space.

Maltsev, 23, recorded six goals, nine points, and a -4 rating in 33 games during his rookie NHL season and also posted one goal in one AHL game. He will likely be an extra forward.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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