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NEWARK — The New Jersey Devils bulked up their defense corps Thursday, trading forward Mikhail Maltsev to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Ryan Graves.

New Jersey also sent a 2nd round pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

Graves, 26, scored two goals and 13 assists in 54 games with Colorado in 2021, adding a goal and five assists in 10 games during the Avs’ run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Canadian-born defenseman was originally drafted by the New York Rangers. He’s under contract for the next two season.

“Ryan brings physicality, size, an ability to defend in tough situations and a fearless compete level that makes him tough to play against,” said New Jersey Devils Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald. “His assertive style of play and ability to play with young defensemen are characteristics that fit into what we are building with our group.”

Maltsev scored six goals and three assists for nine points in 33 NHL contests with New Jersey this season.

By trading Graves, along with Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson agreeing to waive his no-movement clause, the team can protect defensemen Devon Toews, Cale Makar and Samuel Girard. The Devils have plenty of room to protect Graves.