Ryan Graves was traded to the New Jersey Devils by the Colorado Avalanche for Mikhail Maltsev on Thursday.
Colorado also received a second-round pick (No. 61) in the 2021 NHL Draft.
Graves, a 26-year-old defenseman, scored 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 54 regular-season games this season and has scored 46 points (14 goals, 32 assists) in 149 NHL games with the Avalanche. He has scored nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including six points (one goal, five assists) in 10 games this season for Colorado, which was eliminated in six games by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Second Round.
“Ryan brings physicality, size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), an ability to defend in tough situations and a fearless compete level that makes him tough to play against,” New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said. “His assertive style of play and ability to play with young defensemen are characteristics that fit into what we are building with our group.”
[RELATED: NHL Trade Tracker]
Graves led the NHL with a plus-40 rating last season and is plus-59 in his three NHL seasons. He has two seasons remaining on a three-year contract he signed as a restricted free agent on Oct. 12, 2020.
Colorado was unlikely to protect Graves from the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck, which will be held July 21 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW). Teams must submit their protected lists by 5 p.m. Saturday.
Each NHL team can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goalie. Any player who has a no-move clause must agree to waive it to be exposed. The deadline for teams to submit protected lists is Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
The Avalanche can now protect defensemen Samuel Girard, Cale Makar and Devon Toews.
Seattle will select one player from each team, excluding the Vegas Golden Knights, for a total of 30 (at least 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies).
Selected by the New York Rangers in the fourth round (No. 110) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Graves was traded to Colorado by New York for defenseman Chris Bigras on Feb. 26, 2018.
Maltsev, a 23-year-old forward, scored nine points (six goals, three assists) in 33 games this season, his first in the NHL. He was a fourth-round pick (No. 102) by New Jersey in the 2016 NHL Draft.
The draft pick the Avalanche received was acquired by the Devils from the New York Islanders in a trade for defenseman Andy Greene on Feb. 16, 2020.