The Atlanta Thrashers have traded defenceman Niclas Havelid to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for blueliner Anssi Salmela.
The 35-year old Havelid is heading to his third NHL team in nine seasons, including five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks who drafted him in the 3rd round (83rd overall) in 1999.
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This trade addresses a need for both teams. First off, the Devils were lacking on the blue line and everyone knew Lou Lamoriello was going to upgrade his back-end. In Havelid, the Devils acquire a solid stay-at-home defender. The 35 year old Sweden native has playoff experience (Ducks 2004) and is steady force on defense. He isn’t glamorous, or even overly offensive, but he gets the puck out of his own zone quite well and provides a nice veteran upgrade for New Jersey’s defense.
As for Atlanta, they get younger which is always a plus when your team is horrible. Havelid was a pending UFA and they needed to get a return for their asset before he hit the market. In Salmela, the Thrashers get a young offensive rearguard who can move the puck. With Zach Bogosian, Ron Hainsey and Tobias Enstrom already doing that on the Thrashers’ defense, Salmea should fit in quite well. In fact, Atlanta’s defense is looking like it may have a bright future.