By Adam Bess
Sami Vatanen played his third full season with the Ducks, scoring 9 goals and recording 29 assists(38 points) in 71 games. The Finnish defenseman also scored 4 points(1 goal + 3 assists) in Anaheim’s round one loss to the Nashville Predators.
Vatanen’s play strongly improved as the season went on, I believe. Even though he scored 12 goals last year, his point total went up by one in 2015-2016. Vatanen’s play in his own end was improved greatly, and his skating speed and power has improved as well. He jumps in on the offensive attack and his confidence appears higher this season. This confidence led to a career high in points and a spot on Finland’s World Cup roster.
Vatanen will be an RFA this upcoming offseason, and I personally think it’s a no-brainer to make signing him a top priority. Because of several other RFAs and some UFAs as well, Vatanen’s new contract length and salary may be a bit tricky to manage, but a 3 to 4 year contract at around 3.5 or 4 million would be affordable and appropriate for a player of his caliber and age.
For his play this season, I give Vatanen a B+. His excellent play on both ends led to a career high in points and hopefully a nice contract this year. He is a great addition to the Ducks defense and is a offensive threat as the quarterback on the power play.
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