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2015 Season In Review: Sami Vatanen

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The Finnish defenseman set career highs playing on the third defensive pairing, pacing all Ducks defensemen in scoring.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Sami Vatanen played a career high 67 games with the Ducks. This was the closest to a full season that Vatanen has played in the NHL, as last season he had a short stint of 8 games with the Norfolk Admirals. Vatanen missed about a month of hockey (from February to March 2015) while being sidelined with a "lower-body injury." His was just another one of a string of injuries that hit the Ducks' blueline forcing General Manager Bob Murray to acquire defenseman Eric Brewer and bring up Josh Manson to fill in.

Season In Review

Vatanen set career highs in games played (67), goals (12), assists (25) and total points (37) in his first "full" NHL season. He played much of the season paired with Clayton Stoner on the Ducks' third pairing. Vatanen scored his first shorthanded goal of his career against the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 16, 2014.

Vatanen's most memorable goal of the season came in a shootout, as his shootout-winning goal saved Teemu Tribute Night.

Vatanen did well to contribute on offense while playing limited minutes on the third pairing. Vatanen also worked well on the power play where he and Cam Fowler controlled the blueline, and he scored 7 of his 12 goals while on the power play proving to be a constant threat with the puck. Here is one power play goal he scored late in the third period against the Kings to tie the game. Enjoy Hayward trying to figure out whether Vatanen actually scored the goal:

Ducks Impact

Sami Vatanen is one of Anaheim's top defenseman even though he ends up playing on the bottom pairing. His offensive ability is invaluable on the power play, and he has grown into a much better defender than he was just a year ago. In last year's playoffs Vatanen played in all 16 games, scoring 3 goals with 8 assists for 11 points. The 2015-16 season is Vatanen's last on his current contract, he'll be one of three defenseman RFAs that the Ducks will have to re-sign either before or during next summer.