Devils acquire Kuokkanen, Claesson

Photo: Jacob Kupferman

The New Jersey Devils have traded defenseman Sami Vatanen to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Janne Kuokkanen, defenseman Fredrik Claesson and Carolina’s conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Kuokkanen, 21, has established career highs with 30 assists and 42 points in 52 games with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers this season, his third pro campaign.

In 160 regular-season contests over three pro seasons, Kuokkanen has tallied 35 goals and 85 assists for 120 points along with a plus-34 rating. He was part of the Checkers’ Calder Cup championship team in 2018-19, although he missed the postseason due to injury.

A second-round pick by Carolina in the 2016 NHL Draft, Kuokkanen has skated in 11 career NHL games with the Hurricanes.

Claesson has three goals, 16 assists and a plus-15 rating in 47 games with Charlotte this season.

The eighth-year pro has skated in 332 games in the AHL with Charlotte and the Binghamton Senators, totaling 16 goals and 73 assists for 89 points along with a plus-44 rating.

A fifth-round choice by Ottawa in the 2011 NHL Draft, Claesson has six goals and 20 assists in 150 career NHL games with the Senators and N.Y. Rangers.