New Jersey Devils acquire Ryan Graves from Colorado Avalanche for Mikhail Maltsev, draft pick
🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) July 16, 2021
We have acquired defenseman Ryan Graves from Colorado in exchange for forward Mikhail Maltsev and our second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. pic.twitter.com/GiVocf6b3g
It's an interesting transaction for both parties, only the second such deal motivated by the Expansion Draft this off-season -- the first, of course, being the Los Angeles Kings acquisition of Viktor Arvidsson.
For the Avalanche, this move allowed them to cash in on Graves before losing him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft, a very real possibility even with Erik Johnson agreeing to waive his no-movement clause to free up a protection spot. They can now protect Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Sam Girard in the 7-3-1 protection format.
The Devils, meanwhile, took advantage of the situation, drawing from their considerable war chest of prospects and picks to pry a credible top-four defender for pennies on the dollar from a team in a tight spot, short on options. Better still, Graves has two years left on a supremely affordable ticket, checking in at $3.16-million. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the expiration of this deal.
Maltsev, a fourth-round pick in 2016, just finished his first season of NHL action, playing primarily in the Devils bottom-six, and picking up nine points in 33 games. He's got size, speed, and can contribute ably in a checking role.